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Newgrange: Watch a live stream of the spectacular winter solstice

Ireland's Ancient East

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Newgrange, Co Meath. Photo: Tourism Ireland

Newgrange, Co Meath. Photo: Tourism Ireland

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

Rebecca Smyth with an Irish Wolfhound at Newgrange in Co Meath in 2016 Photo: Mark Condren

Rebecca Smyth with an Irish Wolfhound at Newgrange in Co Meath in 2016 Photo: Mark Condren

Inside the chamber at the Winter Solstice at Newgrange yesterday morning. Picture Steve  Humphreys

Inside the chamber at the Winter Solstice at Newgrange yesterday morning. Picture Steve Humphreys

Newgrange, Co Meath. Photo: Fáilte Ireland

Newgrange, Co Meath. Photo: Fáilte Ireland

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Newgrange, Co Meath. Photo: Tourism Ireland

For the first time ever, people all over the world can watch sunlight creep into Newgrange passage tomb on winter solstice.

Weather-permitting, of course (clouds are forecast).

A live stream organised by the OPW and Fáílte Ireland will broadcast the moment when the 5,000-year-old tomb's internal chamber is lit up (#Solstice2017).

You can watch it live (below) from 8.30am on Thursday, December 21. 

The annual event, which sees sunlight enter the roofbox of the Co. Meath tomb and light up its inner chamber over the course of around 17 minutes, is simulated for all visitors to Newgrange - but only a lucky few get to see the real deal.

Each year, the OPW runs a Winter Solstice Lottery - in 2017, it says, over 33,000 people applied from as far afield as Austria, Italy and the US.

Just a handful are ever successful in entering the chamber itself.

Newgrange is believed to be older than Stonehenge (below) and the Egyptian pyramids, and its "alignment" is considered a marvel of Neolithic engineering.

The live stream comes on a notable anniversary, too.

50 years ago, on December 21, 1967, Irish archaeologist Dr. Michael J. O’Kelly stood inside the famous passage tomb as the light from the rising sun travelled 19m up the corridor to illuminate the central chamber.

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Dr O'Kelly is believed to have been the first human to witness the winter solstice from inside Newgrange in millennia.

Today, Brú na Bóinne is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and key Ireland's Ancient East attraction visited by over 207,000 people a year.

Winter solstice is the shortest day of the year.

See more on irelandsancienteast.com.

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