Historic live stream from inside 5,200-year-old passage tomb as winter light floods its world-famous chambers

For the first time ever, the light show inside the Stone Age passage tomb, Newgrange, in County Meath, is being streamed live around the world.

Built by Stone Age farmers 5,200 years ago, Newgrange, which is in the Boyne Valley, is older than the pyramids at Giza in Egypt. The site is best known for the way the sun illuminates passage up the chamber on the shortest days of the year, around the winter solstice (Dec 21).

Above the entrance to the passage is an opening called a roof-box.  On mornings around the winter solstice (Dec 19 to 23) a beam of light penetrates the roof-box and travels up the 19-metre (62-feet) passage and into the chamber. As the sun rises higher, the beam widens so that the whole chamber is dramatically illuminated.

On Wednesday morning, with thanks to Failte Ireland, the country’s tourism board, and the Office of Public Work, history was made as a life stream from the Boyne Valley was streamed online around the globe.

You can watch here:

Read more: Magic of Newgrange at winter solstice never fails to astound

It’s expected that hundreds will gather at Newgrange on Dec 21, the winter solstice, to witness the phenomenon, while only a select few (chosen by lottery) will be allowed inside the inner chamber. Now millions around the globe will be in with a chance to witness the world-famous event. On Thursday the live stream will run from 8.30 GMT / 3:30 am EST.

Welcoming the initiative, Minister of State for Tourism and Sport, Brendan Griffin TD said, “This is a fantastic way to share the unique magic of Newgrange with a much larger audience. It is also a great way to highlight the type of compelling history and heritage that Ireland offers as a destination.”

Minister of State with responsibility for the OPW, Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran added “Newgrange nestled in the Boyne Valley is an important historical site in Ireland's Ancient Heritage which attracted over 207,000 visitors in 2016.

“Our annual Winter Solstice Lottery received over 33,000 applications to witness this event with winners from as far as Austria, Italy, Switzerland and the United States of America, showing the continuing fascination the Solstice has the world over.”

Fáilte Ireland’s Head of Ireland’s Ancient East, Jenny De Saulles, today explained the importance of Newgrange for the tourism brand. “The Newgrange site is one of the jewels in the crown of Ireland’s Ancient East and we are delighted to be teaming up with the OPW to share its story with as wide an audience as possible,” said De Saulles.

“The history, heritage and the ancient atmosphere of Newgrange conjure up everything special about Ireland’s history and unique past and we are really happy to bring these elements to a wider audience.”

Read more: Travel through the mysteries of the ancient Boyne Valley

Visualization of the winter solstice sunrise light entering the chambers of Newgrange.YouTube / Discovery Channel