Loughcrew Equinox - March 2008

Sunrise Equinox March 2008

Staff from the Office of Public Works were at Cairn T on Carnbane East, Loughcrew for the Equinox Illumination on the mornings of March 20th, March 21st and March 22nd 2008.

Unfortunately for the people who gathered on March 20th the sunrise was totally obscured. On the 21st the rising sun occasionally broke through the clouds.

The best morning was the 22nd which was a near perfect sunrise, when the sun rose above a little low cloud, Cairn T was brilliantly illuminated, rewarding the hardy souls that braved the arctic winds and sub zero temperatures.

The chamber in Cairn T is quite small so only 5 or 6 people can be inside at a time. The rest of the crowd waited patiently outside, making sure not to spoil the illumination inside by obstructing the sun at the entrance of the Cairn.

Sun in the passage of Loughcew Cairn T
Sun in the passage of Cairn T.

Inside Loughcrew Cairn T
The Equinox Sunrise illuminating the chamber of Loughcrew Cairn T.

After the sun has retreated from the chamber, this photo from MythicalIreland.com illustrates the beautiful afterglow effect in which significant reflected sunlight still reaches the rear stone.

Loughcrew Cairn T
By 7:20am the sun had retreated from the passage and chamber and I am about to join my fellow enthusiasts for an organic breakfast at the nearby Loughcrew Gardens.

Light Years Ago by Tim O'Brien Light Years Ago: A Study of the Cairns of Newgrange and Cairn T Loughcrew, Co. Meath, Ireland by Tim O'Brien shows that the symbols of the sun engraved on the backstone of Cairn T at Loughcrew are precisely positioned to measure solar movement. A beam of light from the rising sun around the time of the March and September equinoxes is mapped on the backstone.

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Loughcrew Video - Spring Equinox 2005

The progress of the sunbeam on the backstone inside Cairn T at Loughcrew was video recorded at sunrise on the morning of March 23rd 2005. The 50 minute video has been compressed to 1 minute 46 seconds and included in the following YouTube Video.

Gossan Stones Equinox Sunrise Alignment

Gossan Equinox Sunrise Alignment
The Equinox Sunrise is framed by the Gossan Stones in the Wicklow Mountains.

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