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Rosie May Geraghty (8) sets her candle in place

Rosie May Geraghty (8) sets her candle in place

Rosie May Geraghty (8) sets her candle in place

On the eve of the shortest day, households around the country shone a light from their windows yesterday in a show of solidarity and a symbol of hope for the year ahead.

As part of the Creative Ireland Programme, national and local public buildings across the country were lit up, as were Irish embassies and missions overseas.

RTÉ had a special Shine Your Light broadcast featuring Clannad, Damien Dempsey and Sharon Shannon among others.

"In what has been a very difficult year with considerable sadness and darkness, we've also seen the remark-able resilience of the Irish people," RTÉ director general Dee Forbes said.

She added that the broadcast was to allow people to come together to reflect on the year gone by and remember those who have been lost "as we also look to the future with hope on the eve of the solstice".

The annual Newgrange Winter Solstice event is being streamed live today by the Office of Public Works (OPW) as people for the first time were asked to not visit the historical site in Co Meath because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The solstice marks the shortest day and the longest night of the year.

Regrettable

At sunrise during the winter solstice at Newgrange, light shines through the roof box into the passage, lighting up the chamber of the 5,200-year-old tomb for 17 minutes.

OPW minister Patrick O'Donovan said it was regrett- able that the public were not allowed to visit Newgrange for the solstice this year.

"I realise that this will come as a disappointment, but at all times the OPW has to be mindful of government guidelines in relation to Covid-19 and the health and safety of our visitors is paramount," he said.


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