Sunday 25 September 2016

Clouds cast a shadow over solstice at Newgrange

Published 22/12/2015 | 02:30

It is one of Ireland's greatest spectacles, but a veil of dark cloud threw a shade over the much anticipated winter solstice at Newgrange.

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Several hundred people gathered at the Newgrange passage tomb in Co Meath yesterday, where light from the rising sun - if visible - lights up the inner chamber of the 5,000-year-old tomb every year on December 21.

However, the gloomy weather and dark clouds prevented spectators from enjoying this magical moment yesterday at sunrise, just before 9am.

Every year 10 people are selected from a lottery of thousands of entrants to enter the chamber to witness the moment.

They are joined by a guest of their choice and members of the media.

Sean Nicholston joined his aunt Carmel, who had been selected from the lottery.

Sean Nicholston, Dublin, and Siobhan Carroll, Roscommon, in the chamber at Newgrange. Photo: Damien Eagers
Sean Nicholston, Dublin, and Siobhan Carroll, Roscommon, in the chamber at Newgrange. Photo: Damien Eagers
Redmond and Louise Kennedy from Rathmines, with their children Cody (2) and Boinn (6). Photo: Damien Eagers
Orla Magill, from Armagh, Karen Ward, from Dublin, and Deirdre Hannon, from Athlone. Photo: Damien Eagers

Despite not witnessing the beam of light, the Dublin man described it as a "spiritual" experience.

"It was my first time ever in it. It was quite weird because it was very tight and narrow going down into the chamber and when you got in there they turned off all of the lights and it was quite eerie and quiet, but also very peaceful," the 20-year-old said.

"We were waiting for the sunrise which was 8.58am and unfortunately it didn't happen because it was too cloudy.

"It was a peaceful and spiritual thing.

"There was natural light. The whole tunnel was lit with natural light but there was no beam of light which there was meant to be, as we were told.

"So that was a bit unfortunate, but it was a very good experience."

Irish Independent

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