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Newgrange Winter Solstice Lottery

Rainbow at Newgrange Winter SolsticePeople gather at Newgrange for winter solstice dawn on each of the mornings from December 18th to December 23rd inclusive. Sunrise is at 8.58am.

All access to the chamber is decided by lottery. However, everyone else is welcome to come and stand on the outside of the monument.

To enter the lottery, you can fill out an application form in Brú Na Bóinne Visitor Centre when you visit Newgrange. Alternatively you can send your postal address, a contact telephone number and an indication whether or not you have ever visited Newgrange by e-mail to

On receipt of these details a member of staff will complete an application on your behalf. Applicants must be over 10 years of age. An adult must accompany children under 18 years of age. Only applications on the official form can be entered into the draw. Applications are valid for the current year’s draw only.

The draw for places at Newgrange for Solstice 2016 will take place on September 30th 2016. Children from three local schools will choose the winning applicants. The successful people will be notified by mid October.

Fifty names are drawn, and each of those fifty people is invited along with a guest to attend on a specific morning. There are ten lottery winners and their guests in the chamber on each of the mornings. Some additional names are also drawn and placed on a reserve list. The reserve list is there in case someone whose name is drawn for the initial list is not contactable or else finds it impossible to travel to Newgrange on the date they have been assigned. The place at Newgrange for dawn is non-transferable. Lottery winners cannot offer their place in the chamber to someone else.

There were 30,475 entries for Solstice 2015.

There is no guarantee that there will be sunlight in the chamber on any of the mornings…the event is totally weather dependent!

Newgrange Winter Solstice

The weather conditions on 21st December 2007 were perfect and rising sun illuminated the passage and chamber of the Newgrange mound. An achieve of the Solstice 2007 webcast and a six minute compilation is available at

The passage and chamber inside the ancient mound at Newgrange are illuminated by the winter solstice sunrise. A shaft of sunlight shines through the roof box over the entrance and penetrates the passage to light up the chamber.

The dramatic event lasts for 17 minutes at dawn on a few days before and after the Winter Solstice. Admission to the chamber at Newgrange for the Winter Solstice sunrise is by lottery.

When Newgrange was built over 5000 years ago, the winter solstice sunbeam would have made its way to the back recess of the central chamber. Due to changes in the tilt of the Earth's axis the sunbeam now stops 2 metres from the back recess.

Newgrange Winter Solstice 2006

Images from the morning of the 21st December 2006. Joe & Clare won tickets in the winter solstice lottery for December 22nd, they were very fortunate to experience a glorious sunrise in the chamber at Newgrange.

Newgrange 2006

Winter Solstice shadow

Newgrange Winter Solstice 2005

I am very grateful to Anne-Maria Moroney who was at Newgrange on the 20th of December and has made these images available.

The sun didn't shine on the morning of the 21st December, the disappointment was eloquently described by Eileen Battersby in the Irish Times.

Newgrange Winter Solstice 2004

Images from the actual morning of the winter solstice - 21st December 2004.

This image photographed from inside the chamber by Alan Betson was printed in The Irish Times newspaper on the 22nd December 2004.

Newgrange Winter Solstice by Alan Betson

Newgrange Winter Solstice 2004

Newgrange Winter Solstice 2004

Images of a beautiful sunrise at Newgrange on the 19th December 2004.

Sun light in the passage at Newgrange viewed from the entrance.

Newgrange Winter Solstice 2003

The Winter Solstice sunrise illuminates the passage way leading into the burial chamber of the megalithic passage tomb at Newgrange on the 21st December 2003. This wonderful  photograph by Alan Betson was printed on the front page of The Irish Times newspaper on the 22nd December 2003.

Winter Solstice 2003 @ Newgrange


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Rainbow - Winter Solstice 2002 @ Newgrange

Newgrange Winter Solstice 2002

Images from the Winter Solstice at Newgrange on the 22nd December 2002. A rainbow heightened the experience of those on the outside, as the fortunate few on the inside, selected by lottery experienced the illumination of the passage and chamber.

Newgrange Winter Solstice 2001

Solstice sunrise lets lucky few gaze through window to an ancient world.

Light at the end of the tunnel: the sun makes its way into the main chamber at Newgrange during the winter solstice yesterday.

Photography by Frank McGrath.

Newgrange Winter Solstice 2001

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