Newgrange's Winter Solstice sunrise is one of Ireland's most special attractions

60 lucky people have won their chance to witness the Winter Solstice sunrise at Newgrange in Co Meath this year.

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28,595 people entered into the lottery that grants access to the inside of Newgrange during the 2018 winter solstice. Each year, sixty names are drawn, and each of those sixty people is invited to attend the solstice at Newgrange with a guest.

The Winter Solstice illumination at Newgrange occurs between December 18th through 23rd. Each day at dawn, ten lucky lottery winners along with their guests are permitted inside the ancient Irish tomb to witness firsthand the magical illumination at sunrise.

A reserve list of names is also selected from the lottery in the event that the first winners cannot attend.

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Didn’t win the lottery this year? Spectators are still welcome to attend the Winter Solstice at Newgrange and observe the event from the exterior.

At 5,000 years old, Newgrange is one of Europe’s most prized archaeological sites and was deemed a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2003.

The magic of Newgrange happens only once a year during the Winter Solstice around December 21. It is on those days that the sun aligns perfectly with the stone structure and - weather permitting - illuminates the interior passageways.

“The accuracy of Newgrange as a time-telling device is remarkable when one considers that it was built 500 years before the Great Pyramids and more than 1,000 years before Stonehenge," says the Newgrange website.

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“The intent of the Stone Age farmers who built Newgrange was undoubtedly to mark the beginning of the new year. In addition, it may have served as a powerful symbol of the victory of life over death.”

You can learn more about Newgrange from National Geographic here:

Have you ever been to Newgrange? Share your experience in the comments!