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Winter Solstice at the Boyne Valley

The Stone Age priest greets the rising sun at the winter solstice, the great cosmic festival of rebirth at the massive cairn of Newgrange in the Boyne Valley.

These ancient buildings are said to have been built by the mythical race the Túatha Dé Danann. There are over three hundred cairns or passage mounds to be found in Ireland today, and while many are ruined some have remained untouched and unopened since ancient times.

The civilisation that built the cairns began construction as for back as 5,400 B.C. in Co. Sligo, where the sites of Knocknarea, Carrowmore and Carrowkeel give the impression of great antiquity. The sites in the Loughcrew Mountains and the Boyne Valley contain the largest concentration of stone age art to be found in the world.

This early symbolic engravings are among the oldest writings in the world. The artwork is always integrated with the alignment of the cairn to an important sunrise, sunset or some other position of a heavenly body. The cairns were built to project a beam of light from the sun or moon which illuminates the appropriate symbol within the darkness of the chamber.