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Newgrange
Passage Grave, Brú na BÓinne
     
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This Site best viewed at 800x600

Newgrange, was on my must see list for this visit to Ireland. You can see a castle almost anywhere in Ireland, but where else but Newgrange can one enter a restored Passage Grave (tomb) that pre dates Stonehenge.
More pages on Newgrange and Knowth:
Newgrange page 2
Newgrange page 3
 
Knowth
Outside Links:
The BoyneValley
Knowth.com
Stones of Ireland
Brú na Boinne visitor Center
Wikipedia
Newgrange


Photo above - our first view of New Grange after being dropped off by the bus. White stone incases a portion of the passage tombs wall.

To visit the Newgrange and Knowth passage graves, park your vehicle at the Bru na BÓinne Visitor Center. After buying tickets you will be directed to the shuttle buses which will take you to the passage grave sites. You can gain access to the passage grave properties only by way of the shuttle buses.


Entrance to New Grange tomb - The top window (roof box) above the entrance is unique to New Grange and is used only by the sun during the winter solstice. The large stone, seen at the entrance, with its spiral designs, is a spectacular example of megalithic art.
A UNESCO World Heritage site, the Brú na BÓinne area incorporates the passage tombs of Newgrange, Knowth and Dowth. From the Brú na BÓinne Visitor center one can take a guided tour of Newgrange and Knowth. On my visit the Dowth mound was closed for conservation measures but one can walk about the site. The Brú na BÓinne visitor center is located about a mile west of the village of Donore (county of Meath), on the L21.

After taking in the size of the mound, one of the first things one notices is the white quartzite rock on the face of the mound. Over the eons, the edges of the mound eroded. When excavations were done in the late 20th century, white rocks were found lying under the eroded mound edges . Some believe the white rocks originally were not an exterior facing of the mound wall but perhaps the paving of a sacred pathway leading up to the tomb.

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Surrounding the mound are several large standing stones. The standing stones are thought to be younger than the mound and may not have been used by the same Neolithic culture that built the mounds.
 

As we line up to enter the tomb, our guide announces, "If you are not comfortable in tight, close places, please either remain outside or be the last in line! The tunnel in to the mound is very narrow, once you enter the tunnel you will not be able to turn around until you have reached the inner chamber."

It has been estimated, in 3000 BC, it would have taken 300 people working for 20 or more years to construct the 300 ft.+/- elongated dome at Newgrange. A large stone basin (alter?) was put in place first, then the central chamber was built. Each stone for the chamber was carefully laid, like over lapping roofing tiles, so that each would direct moisture away from the chamber. With completion of the chamber, layers of earth, stone and clay were used to complete its water proofing, bringing the height of the mound to around 40 feet. The central chamber's ceiling is almost 20 feet at its highest point.

Dutifully getting in line we wait our turn to enter the passage grave. The tunnel, in to the tomb, is just shoulder wide and not quite high enough for us to walk up right. Walking in dim light, slowly up a slight incline for 60 odd feet, we finally find ourselves in the inner chamber.

Go to page 2 - With in the inner chamber of Newgrange

 


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Most of the information on this website was gather during my families July 2004 visit to Ireland