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Established 16/3/2000

Dowth: Winter Sunsets, by Anne-Marie Moroney

Dowth, possibly the oldest of the three major tumuli in the Bend of the Boyne in county Meath, Ireland, shares a special solar celebration with neighbouring Newgrange during the winter solstice.

From November to February the rays of the evening sun reach into the passsage and then the chamber of Dowth South. During the winter solstice the light of the low sun moves along the left side of the passage, then into the circular chamber, where three stones are lit up by the sun.

The convex central stone reflects the sunlight in to a dark recess, lighting up the decorated stones there. The rays then recede slowly along the right side of the passage and after about two hours the sun withdraws from Dowth South.


Dowth kerbstone 51

The book gives a general description of the Dowth tumulus, celebrates the sunrise at the mound and then concentrates on the midwinter sunset in the souther passage.

Dowth, Winter Sunsets is richly illustrated with original photography and drawings by the author.

The photo (left) shows the front of kerbstone 51 in the early morning sun in February 1998.


Early afternoon sun beginning to shine on the stones on the left side of the passage. Early January 1998. Sunbeam on the left side of the southern passage, on the sillstone and on the floor of the chamber. January 1998. Winter afternoon sun in the passage, on the sillstone and in the chamber of Dowth South. January 1998.


(Above): A sunbeam pouring into the passage and chamber in the early afternoon, January 1998. (Above right): Sunlight viewed from the floor of the circular chamber. Picture taken after 3pm in Jan/Feb 2000. (Right): A broad sunbeam reaching along the floor of the chamber towards the base of C7, mid-January 1999.


Dowth South - Chamberstone 7 and the floor of the circular chamber illuminated by an afternoon sunbeam in Jan/Feb 1998. Dowth South - On a mid afternoon in February 1998 the sun retreats along the right side of the passage at Dowth.

DOWTH, Winter Sunsets, by Anne-Marie Moroney, Flax Mill Publications, Drogheda, Ireland. ISBN 0-9533822-3-0, (1999, reprinted 2000).

The book is available from: Anne-Marie Moroney, Kiplings, Begrath, Tullyallen, Drogheda, Co. Louth , Ireland. Email: annemariemoroney@eircom.ie Price: 5.00 + 1.00 for p&p.


(Above Left): Drawings on the back of Kerbstone 51 at Dowth. This stone is wedge-shaped. The photo was taken on a spring afternoon in natural light. (Above right): The entrance to the passage and chamber of Dowth South, taken shortly after sunrise in mid December 1998.

Back to the Dowth page

All information and photos, except where otherwise stated, copyright, © Anthony Murphy, 1999-2015
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