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Newgrange and Ireland in Winter

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Long before there was a Christmas, the ancient Irish celebrated the Winter Solstice. The true secrets of how rests with the stones, the stones at Newgrange, a site over 5000 years old that predates both Stonehenge and the ancient pyramids. Once a year, this dark tomb floods with light at the winter solstice to illuminate the beautiful Celtic spirals on the stones.

What was celebrated here and why we will never know, but it is a clear signal that the ancient peoples of Ireland understand the movement of the sun at the Winter Solstice and celebrated the Shortest Day; the Darkest Midnight.

Here are thirty-three things we do know about this magical place.

Play Accompanying Music

Click here to hear "Noel Nouvelle" as recorded on the "The Spirit of Christmas" available here.

The single MP3 downloadable track is available here (track 3)

Newgrange is an ancient burial tomb located about an hour north of Dublin. It remains in darkness throughout the year except during winter solstice when the tomb floods with light, illuminating the beautiful spiral designs on the stones. Many Celtic jewely designs are inspired by the spirals at Newgrange. The Double and triple spiral can be found engraved in the stones here.

Lots of fun factoids here:

* 1,000 years older than Stonehenge

• Discovered in 1969 by laborers searching for building stones

* Charles Campbell was the landowner at the time

* On Campbell's instructions, stones were sought and the entrance discovered

* The mound is in the shape of a kidney

* Constructed around 3200BC (Stone Age)

* 600 years older than the Giza Pyramids in Egypt


* Covers an area of approximately one acre

* Surrounded by 97 kerb-stones

* Megalithic art on many of the kerb-stones


* Arwork includes spirals, lozenges, zigzags, and other symbols

* These designs are similar to designs found in Brittany (France), at Gavrinis

* Entrance stone has the most famous designs; triple spiral

* Long passage leads to a cruciform chamber with a corbelled roof

* Historians building time estimate (passage tomb): 300 workers 20 years +

* Most visited archaeological monument in Ireland with 200,000 visitors each year

* One of the finest European passage-tombs

* Located in the Boyne Valley in a 3 square mile area

* Within this 3 mile area, there are 30 prehistoric monuments

* The stone circle was probably built about 1000 years later (Beaker period)

* Over the entrance passageway is the 'roof box' (allows the light in)

* The roof box aligns perfectly with the sunrise on the winter solstice

* At sunset on the winter solstice, the center of the tomb floods with light

* The illumination lasts about 20 minutes

* You can see the spirals for those 20 minutes....

* The cruciform chamber inside the mound measures 6.5 x 6.2m (21ft 6in x 17ft)

* The corbelled roof stretches 6m (20ft) above the floor

* Considered to have have been the burial place of the Kings of Tara

* Home of those pre-historic supernaturals, known as the Tuatha De Danann

* Home of King Dagda, leader of the Tuatha De Danann

* When you go to Ireland, visit this place.... special....

* If you can't manage a visit. Check out the webcast of the solstice from Newgrange - beauteous!

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