Hundreds of people gathered at Newgrange in Co Meath this morning hoping to watch the sun rise on the Winter solstice.

Thirty thousand people had applied for the lottery to be allowed to enter the chamber but only 16 were lucky enough to be given the chance to enter the tomb.

Unfortunately the sun was obliterated by the clouds this morning and those inside did not get to see a ray of light illuminate the chamber.

As next year is a leap year the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year, actually falls on 22 December this year but the Office of Public Works held their main celebration of the event today.

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From the Archives:
The Miracle of Newgrange (1986)

Newgrange was built 500 years before the Pyramids in Egypt and more than 1,000 years before Stonehenge.

When conditions are right on the solstice, a narrow beam of light penetrates the roof-box above the entrance to the passage at Newgrange and reaches the floor of the chamber, gradually illuminating the entire chamber. The event lasts for 17 minutes.

Light trickles into the chamber at Newgrange (pic: National Monument Services)