Winter solstice at the ancient Knockroe Passage Tomb on December 21
Hundreds of people, including some Druids, will make the annual pilgrimage to see the winter solstice at the ancient Knockroe Passage Tomb in County Kilkenny on the shortest day of the year, December 21.
The Megalithic monument, which is also known as The Caiseal, is situated close to Ahenny at Knockroe. It is the only passage tomb in Ireland with both morning and evening winter solstice events, where the rising and setting sun illuminate the tomb's intriguing artwork.
The morning winter solstice will occur at the tomb at 8.40am while the evening solstice will be at 3.40pm.
Knockroe Passage Tomb was built more than 5,000 years ago by the first farmers and is part of a large collection of interconnected megalithic sites in the area including Bawnfree, the Kilmacoliver Stone Circle and the cairn on Slievenamon.
Members of the Caiseal Conservation Committee, Lingaun Valley Tourism and Suir Valley Environmental Group will be on hand on December 21 to oversee parking facilities and provide refreshments to visitors.
UCD archaeologist Prof. Muiris O'Sullivan, who has led archaeological investigations of the site, will give wonderful insights into the national monument.
People attending the solstice events are advised to wear wellies or good boots and arrive early as there is a short walk to the site. They are also advised that this is an important national monument and should take care not to cause any damage to the stones.
Organisers of the winter solstice celebrations at Knockroe thank Kilkenny County Council for its grant allocation and to the Iverk Show Committee, Kilkieran Cottage, Marty's Pantry and SuperValu of Carrick-on-Suir for their sponsorship. They also thank Noel Dwyer's, Power's Tullahought and Tullahought Development Association for lending equipment for the event.
They also thank the OPW for granting permission to host the event, to those supplying parking facilities, baking and the volunteers who help to make this winter solstice so special.
Tearooms at Windgap Community Centre will be open to winter solstice tourists until 2pm on December 21.