Today, December 21st marks the shortest day of the year, also known as the winter solstice. This has been marked for thousands of years in our country. It is most famously celebrated in Newgrange, Co. Meath. Please see below an extract from the Heritage Council website and also a link to a video showing how the chamber at Newgrange illuminates on December 21st, when the weather conditions allow.
The Winter Solstice is an astronomical phenomenon that marks the shortest day and the longest night of the year. In the Northern Hemisphere, the Winter Solstice occurs on 21st or 22nd of December, when the sun shines directly over the tropic of Capricorn. At sunrise on the shortest day of the year, for 17 minutes, direct sunlight can enter the Newgrange monument, not through the doorway, but through the specially contrived small opening above the entrance known as the ‘roof box’, to illuminate the Chamber.