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Photographer's Note

I had posted a photo of Knowth a few days ago, here is today its neighbour : Newgrange. Newgrange is the most know megalithic tombs in Bru Na Boinne, which is an incredible archaeological ensemble, World Heritage site, located in county Meath, north of Dublin.

Newgrange was built about 5,000 years ago. It was surrounded by ground for milleniums. Although it was hidden the place was considered as a special one and gave birth to local beliefs and myths. It was discovered again and studied in 17th century and it was restored the same in 70s. The monument has a diameter of 85 m. It has a 19 m long passage that drives to the chamber tomb in the middle of the monument. Newgrange is easy to recognize thanks to its white belt made of quartz stones. Newgrange is well known too for its megalithic art, in particular the very famous triskells graved in the stones at the entry of the passage.

But what makes Newgrange so special is what happens every year in the chamber tomb : at winter solstice, the sun enters in the passage via a hole over the entry of the passage (called roof box), goes through the 19 m long passage and lights the chamber tomb during 17 minutes just after sunset ! It tells us a lot about astronomy knowledges of the people who built Newgrange.

Unlike Knowth, the chamber tomb is open to public on guided tours you can afford at Newgrange. But given that there is only one winter solstice a year, most of us will just see a reconstitution of the winter solstice phenomenon. During the visit, the lights are switched off in the chamber tomb (not recommended to claustrophobic people !) and some artifical lights reproduce what really happens only once a year ! You can also see this phenomenon for real at winter solstice but you need to be very lucky. There is a lottery every year and only about 50 people have the privilege of being in the chamber tomb at sunset on winter solstice. You also should hope the sun will not be hidden by clouds, which is not rare in Ireland !

I made this panoramic shot by cropping a 24x36 picture. Large version here. Enjoy the beautiful but not at all typically irish blue sky !

mkamionka, Curious_Eye, Yiannis84, Nard, Charo, i9l2y1m8a8t3, macjake has marked this note useful

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Additional Photos by Olivier THIERRY (chawax) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1303 W: 26 N: 2927] (18387)
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