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Plans have been drawn up to try to ensure roads leading to Newgrange, Meath’s world heritage site, remain passable during Ireland’s current cold snap.

Thousands flock annually to the site in Meath for the “dawn watch” during the winter solstice which occurs on Tuesday this year. Only a selected few witness the event from inside the monument, but countless others watch the sunrise from outside the chamber each year.

The passage tomb was constructed over 5,000 years ago and has been  designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

Meath County Council and local police met on Thursday to put plans in place to try to ensure that roads around the Brú na Boinne visitor centre and Newgrange itself remain passable.

But with the worst weather in decades still likely to freeze local roads . it is not clear  whether this year’s event will go ahead

Some 60 lottery winners and their guests won the prize of witnessing the winter solstice at Newgrange in which sunlight floods the burial chamber on the shortest day of the year. The winners were selected from the 25,000 people who applied to witness the once-a-year event.

The winter solstice marks the end of the winter’s long nights and the beginning of longer days.

Winners include people from US, Sweden, the Netherlands, Czech Republic, Scotland, England and Northern Ireland, as well as areas throughout Ireland.

Recently the Brú na Boinne visitor center was closed for two weeks due to the dangerous conditions of roads in the area. The visitor’s center opened last Monday but the national monument at Newgrange remained closed to the public due to the dangerous conditions of the road that leads from the center to the monument.

A spokesperson for Meath County Council said that a select number of local roads would be gritted to facilitate visitors to Newgrange.