Monday 22 December 2008 — This is over 14 years old. Be careful.
Yesterday was the winter solstice, the shortest day and longest night of the year. I did nothing to mark the event (other than spend some of the long night outside shoveling).
Newgrange, the Irish neolithic passage tomb, is constructed so that the rising sun of the solstice penetrates 60 feet down the internal passage to illuminate the tomb chamber. Heritage Ireland has an hour-long video of the sun-rise. Much of it is filler, and the 2008 weather was too cloudy for the sun to shine inside the monument, but there’s shots of last years’ solstice showing the sun from inside.
Newgrange is both more elaborate than Stonehenge, and 1000 years older than it. It’s also older than the pyramids at Giza. I’m surprised that I’ve never heard of it before. It’s a remarkable structure.
More information about Newgrange:
- Some detailed drawings of the inside.
- 101 Facts About Newgrange.
- As with many ancient monuments, the modern excavation and reconstruction was controversial.
I've visited Newgrange many times. It's a mysterious place, with ancient celtic patterns carved in the huge stones that line the insides. It's in the Boyne Valley area of Ireland a short drive north of Dublin.
Despite the long lines to get into the place it's well worth it...just don't bring young children. Another good excuse (of many) to go visit Ireland.
What can I say, Newgrange is incredible. Each time I go to Ireland I visit Newgrange, Knowth & Dowth. I've travelled across the country a couple of times visiting other megalithic sites too.
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