Office of Public Works and RTÉ Philharmonic Choir accepted and completed the #Ode2Joy Challenge at Newgrange UNESCO World Heritage Site

22 April 18

To celebrate the European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018, Europa Nostra and its President Maestro Plácido Domingo invited all citizens in Europe and beyond to contribute to the #Ode2Joy Challenge.  This challenge was to celebrate Europe through our common cultural heritage.  It seeks to unlock creativity and encourage participants to make an “#Ode2Europe” as a humanistic and cultural project, based on shared values, history & heritage.

The Office of Public Works (OPW) and the RTÉ Philharmonic Choir accepted and completed Plácido Domingo's challenge to sing Ode to Joy, the Anthem of Europe, at a favourite heritage site during this European Year of Cultural Heritage.  The challenge was completed today April 22nd at the famous Newgrange monument in Brú na Bóinne, UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The RTÉ Philharmonic Choir led by conductor Mark Hindley gathered at the Stone Age monument and performed both inside and outside the iconic site.  The first verse was sung acapella by a small group inside the chamber, while the second verse was sung outside in the open air by the entire choir who waved European and Irish flags in celebration.  The event was recorded on film which will be uploaded on the Europa Nostra website by May 9th - Europe Day.  The performance was enjoyed by many visitors to the site, including local resident Mairéad McGuinness MEP, Vice President of the European Parliament.

Clare Tuffy, OPW, said “The celebration of European Year of Cultural Heritage at Newgrange was very fitting as passage tombs are tangible evidence of trans-European cultural connections from earliest times. Passage tombs are found in other areas of Europe, but it is in Ireland that they found their most inspired expression. Ireland in the Stone Age was not on the periphery of Europe but was central to a vast Atlantic Europe cultural network”.   

Building on these 5000-year-old connections the OPW, in conjunction with Heritage Officers from Co. Meath and Co. Sligo, is involved in a project to connect communities across Europe located near passage tombs. Throughout 2018, communities in Co. Meath, Co. Sligo, Co. Armagh, Orkney in Scotland, Anglesey in Wales as well as groups in France and Spain are co-operating together to promote awareness of their local monuments and to share information and photographs.


For further information, please contact OPW Client Services and Communications at 046 942 6106 or

Follow us on Twitter @opwireland

Find us on Facebook @opwireland

Hi-res images are available from Ken Williams at or

Notes to Editors

Full information on the #Ode2Joy Challenge is available on


Full Choir outside Newgrange.jpg