Crowds gather for Newgrange Solstice

One of the most mysterious sites of ancient Ireland will this morning attract devotees keen to observe the first light of the Winter Solstice.

Thousands are believed to have applied for permission to witness the first rays of light creep through the ancient monument at Newgrange, but only a handful are lucky enough to have been allowed access to the structure’s main chamber.

Many more are expected to gather near the Co Meath site to mark the shortest day of the year.

The world famous monument is believed to date from around 3200 B.C, making it 500 years older than the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt and a thousand years older than England’s Stonehenge.

Archaeologists believe the grass-covered mound is a "passage tomb".

This refers to a passage running to a cave-like chamber, where the remains of the dead were placed.

The site attracts large numbers of visitors each year from around the globe.

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