Minister Canney welcomes winners of OPW's Annual Winter Solstice Lottery to Newgrange for the Solstice

21 December 16

Sean Canney TD, Minister of State with special responsibility for the Office of Public Works (OPW) and Flood Relief this morning, (21 December), welcomed the winners of the OPW Winter Solstice Lottery to Newgrange. Their prize granted them access to the Chamber this morning ready to witness the Winter Solstice but unfortunately the sun was obscured by cloud. Nevertheless, the atmosphere at the Monument is weather-proof and all the visitors enjoyed the unique experience of Winter Solstice. The winners were from Finland, Germany, Isle of Man, Japan, The Netherlands, Switzerland, Northern Ireland and Ireland. They were joined at the Monument by a large group of media and onlookers, all seeking to share in the excitement of this unique event.

Speaking this morning the Minister said: “I am delighted to welcome the lucky winners of this very popular OPW Lottery competition. In September, these lucky winners were chosen by local school children from over 32,000 applications from all around the world. That some of the winners have come this week from as far afield as Japan and the USA shows the continuing fascination the Solstice has the world over”.

2016 was a phenomenal year for tourism, continued the Minister, with Tourism Ireland reporting an estimated 10.5 million visitors by year end, which is a 11% growth on 2015 figures. It is planned to continue this projection into 2017 with plans by Tourism Ireland to expand on the success of the Wild Atlantic Way and Ireland’s Ancient East with the introduction of new touring routes. My Office, the Office of Public Works, has seen a bumper year of visitors to its managed historic sites, which was enhanced with the 2016 centenary events. Strategic plans are in place to work with Fáilte Ireland to enhance and improve the facilities on offer at OPW sites over the coming years."

Newgrange Winter Solstice 2013

  • Image © Alan Betson (2013)


For further information, please contact Ciaran Conroy, OPW Press Officer – mobile 087 9475552 or email

Editor’s Note:

Winter Solstice:

Winter solstice is an astronomical phenomenon which marks the shortest day and the longest night of the year. In the Northern Hemisphere, the winter solstice occurs either December 21 or 22, when the sun shines directly over the tropic of Capricorn; the summer solstice occurs either June 20 or 21, when the sun shines directly over the tropic of Cancer.

Sunrise on the shortest days of the year begins at 8.58am and the light shines into the chamber for 17 minutes. The Office of Public Works opens the monument for the dawn from December 18 until December 23 inclusive and general admission on those mornings is free of charge.