Crowds fail to see the light at Newgrange

Sat, Dec 22, 2012, 00:00

Scores of people gathered outside the Newgrange passage tomb in Co Meath yesterday morning for the annual winter solstice.

Unfortunately, heavy cloud cover meant the sun failed to break through and provide those gathered with an unforgettable experience.

Newgrange, located in the Boyne valley, is a 5,000-year-old tomb famous for the winter solstice illumination which lights up the passage and chamber if weather allows and can be viewed by those lucky enough to be inside.

Access to the chamber is limited and is decided by lottery each year.

Twelve names were drawn from more than 30,000 people who applied for tickets.

The remainder were the six winners of a schools art competition for 10- to 13-year-olds, along with their guardians.

Despite this, spokeswoman for the Office of Public Works Clare Tuffy said it was a great event.

"There was a lovely atmosphere and everyone was very excited to be there, but unfortunately there was no sun," she said.

Solstice lottery winner Mary Craig said she was disappointed with the lack of sun, but that she still enjoyed her time within the monument.

"It was fantastic. It wasn't very sunny, which was very disappointing, but it was great to be in there," she said.

"There was some light coming in, so we could see light, but the fact that we were there and people 5,000 years ago had been there before you, just makes you feel very insignificant."