Limerick firm makes solstice connection to Newgrange

The Chamber at Newgrange from where the live feed will be broadcast.

Limerick company, Ripplecom, has engineered a connection that will allow this year’s winter solstice to be live streamed from Newgrange to thousands of online viewers.

This Thursday at about 8.58am, with the help of a clear sky and fine morning, a shaft of light will steal down a narrow stone passage into a Neolithic alcove buried deep in the heart of the Irish countryside. Just as they have done for over five thousand years, these creeping rays will mark the solstice; the first day of winter and the moment the Northern Hemisphere is at its farthest distance from the sun.

This year, the light from Newgrange will be beamed around the world via a live stream to its widest ever audience. Among those tuning in on Thursday morning will be the team at Ripplecom. The Raheen-based telecommunications firm worked with Magnet Networks to prepare Newgrange for this year’s online appearance.

Wi-Fi and data connection are not usually the biggest priorities on a national heritage site like Newgrange, particularly as the Brú na Boinne Visitor Centre itself located a distance from the monument. Given the particular location of the site and its protected status, some creative thinking was required to deliver a connection strong and reliable enough to support live streaming.

Fortunately, challenging connections are where Ripplecom comes into its own. A team of in-house and field engineers means that the company has the agility, capability and flexibility to build and tailor connections that deliver exactly what is required.

These days Ripplecom is largely urban-based, working with businesses whose challenges centre around multisite networks, guaranteed uptime, voice and security. However, Ripplecom managing director John McDonnell, explains that it was the company’s history as a champion of rural connectivity that came to the fore on this particular project.

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“A decade of continuous investment means that, at the core of our operations, we have a radio network that reaches deep into those parts of Ireland where fibre is still a pipe dream. That reach is the reason we are able to connect over 500 primary schools through HEAnet and over 50 Glanbia sites nationally. It is how we connected sites like Munster Joinery’s offices in Lackanastooka, Ballydesmond and we are delighted it has now led to our involvement with Newgrange and the winter solstice,” he explained.

Ireland’s Ancient East will live stream from Newgrange on their YouTube channel this Wednesday and Thursday, December 20 and 21 from 8.30am each morning. With everything in place, all that remains is for sun worshippers from across the globe – and the team at Ripplecom – to wait and hope for that clear sky and fine morning.

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