Newgrange Neolithic Monument was built around 3200 BC, making it older than Stonehenge and the Egyptian pyramids. The Brú na Bóinne Visitor Centre interprets the Neolithic monuments of Newgrange, Knowth & Dowth. There is a full scale replica of the chamber at Newgrange, and a model of one of the smaller tombs at Knowth.
The Newgrange site consists of a large circular mound with a stone passageway and interior chambers. The mound has a retaining wall at the front and is ringed by engraved kerbstones. There is no agreement about what the site was used for, but it is thought to have had religious significance – it is aligned with the rising sun and its light floods the chamber on the winter solstice. It is the most famous monument within the Brú na Bóinne complex, alongside the similar passage tomb mounds of Knowth and Dowth, and as such is a part of the Brú na Bóinne UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Once a year, at the winter solstice, the rising sun shines directly along the long passage, illuminating the inner chamber and revealing the carvings inside, notably the triple spiral on the front wall of the chamber. This illumination lasts for about 17 minutes. Professor M. J. O’Kelly was the first person in modern times to observe this event on 21 December 1967. The sunlight enters the passage through a specially contrived opening, known as a roofbox, directly above the main entrance. Although solar alignments are not uncommon among passage graves, Newgrange is one of few to contain the additional roofbox feature.
Today the first light enters about four minutes after sunrise, but calculations show that 5,000 years ago first light would have entered exactly at sunrise. The solar alignment at Newgrange is very precise compared to similar phenomena at other passage graves. Current-day visitors to Newgrange are treated to an impressive re-enactment of this event through the use of electric lights situated within the tomb.
Many thanks to Wikipedia for the above information – www.en.wikipedia.org
This is a busy site, with delays likely during summer months, so arrive early. Tickets are sold on a first come first served basis, and cannot be reserved in advance.
Newgrange is open all year round except for Dec. 24-27. Knowth is open from 30th March to 7th November inclusive.
Feb-April daily 9.30 am-5.30 pm;
May daily 9.00 am-6.30 pm;
June-Mid Sept daily 9.00 am- 7.00 pm;
Mid-End Sept daily 9.00 am-6.30 pm;
Oct daily 9.30 am-5.30 pm;
Nov-Jan daily 9.00 am-5.00 pm.
All admissions are via the Visitor Centre. Visitors are brought to the monuments by shuttle bus.
Donore, Co. Meath.
Tel: 041 988 0300.
Exhibition only – Adults €4;
Exhibition & Newgrange visit – Adults €7;
Exhibition & Knowth visit – Adults €6;
Exhibition & visits to both Newgrange & Knowth – Adults €13. Concessions.