Newgrange is ancient Ireland's best known site.
It is part of the Brú na Bóinne complex of Neolithic (late Stone Age) passage tombs on the river Boyne near Kells and Navan, along with the tombs at Knowth and Dowth.
- Of all
three Boyne Valley (Bru
Na Boinne) sites, this is the most accessible to visitors and we
feel is one of ancient Ireland’s precious heritage sites that you should make
sure not to miss when on a tour of the country. The neolithic
monuments are some of our favourite places to visit. They are a remarkable
piece of prehistoric Irelands' history.
tomb has been dated to 3,200 BC. It was built by a Neolithic farming
community 1,000 years before the pyramid of Giza. What an
tomb was excavated
between 1962 and 1975.
passage grave was constructed to demonstrate this Neolithic cultures’ knowledge
of astronomy. Light enters the passage at sunrise on Winter Solstice
revealing the builders had an understanding of planetary movements.
spectacular event is so popular with visitors that tickets are given out
in a lottery system.
- Brú na
Bóinne is a UNESCO protected World Heritage site
are 97 kerb stones at the bottom of the mound, and 12 standing
stones surrounding the mound, which are a later addition.
tomb is 11m high and the mound measures 76m across
- A lot
of the building material was transported from a beach in County Louth 15
miles away. This tells us that this society must have had quite
advanced technology. They possibly transported the rocks by boat on the
200,000 visitors venture there every year. Access is only permitted with a guided tour, and visitors are not allowed to take photos.
Susanna had special permission a few years ago to take pictures inside the tomb at Newgrange, and we will be showing you some of them on these pages about the neolithic monuments to give you an idea of the atmosphere and the feelings to expect when entering this ancient monument.
- The heaviest rock found at Brú na Bóinne weighed 10 tons.
Professor Michael J. O’Kelly who led the excavation of Newgrange conducted an
experiment just to see what effort would have been involved in the
construction. He had three men use ropes and ramps to drag a 1 ton block of
rock. It took them 12 hours to move the rock by 4 metres.
The Journey Into The Tomb
This is the very narrow passage at the tomb, close to the entrance. Visitors have to pass through here in order to get to the cruciform chambers inside. It is very narrow in here!
Note the grooves in the wall on the left. They were made deliberately- probably ground with harder rock. Today we are left to wonder what their meaning or function may have been.
The Most Special Day At Newgrange- Winter Solstice
On the 21st December every year, winter solstice, the
early morning sun rays will pass through a roof box which you can see on the
photo at the top of this page above the entrance, and will then penetrate the
inner chamber 19 metres inside the tomb for only a short while, a mere 17
A 1972 study found that the original design was for the
sunlight to reach the back chamber 24 metres inside. However, the Earth
axis had moved slightly in the last 5,000 years which is preventing that from
Read here about the function of the roof box above
the entrance.Visitors are not normally allowed to take photos inside the
tomb. However, we struck lucky. Susanna got special permission a few years ago
and is bringing you exclusive pictures on these pages to give you a
sense of how special the place is.
Here you can see some of the massive uprights that support the ceiling inside the tomb. They have to hold up the weight of the entire mound.
See the wall art at the back on the white background? In the past, there was probably more of it. It looks like a part of the surface might have lifted off the rock. It must have deteriorated over time.
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Warmest regards, Colm and Susanna
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