Built over 5000 years ago (outer wall reconstructed in the 1960's), Newgrange is one of Ireland's best known ancient sites. The long burial chamber was aligned to catch the first rays
from the air
of the rising sun on the winter solstice, December 21st.
Usually, only a lucky dozen or so people, who have booked years in advance, can get a glimpse of the sunrise - weather permitting!
However, last year Ireland's state radio and TV service, RTE, broadcast the event live, both on the Internet - see the start of the Solar Millennium - and on TV.
CBS's "Good Morning America" and BBC1, among others, relayed the transmission. The broadcast was much criticised, mainly because some of the presenters couldn't stop babbling on, when a bit of quiet was called for, and also because the cameras completely missed the high point, the moment when the suns rays penetrated to the back of the chamber. Better luck next year, although it'll probably rain every year for 10 years!
Last updated October 5th 2000.
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