Newgrange - Brú na Boinne

NewGrange, the eighth wonder of the world

Ever seen a structure older than the Stonehenge and the Pyramids of Giza? You haven't seen old until you saw this one of a kind site which dates as far as the prehistoric period. Newgrange, or Dún Fhearghusa in Irish, is one of the passage tombs located in the Brú na Boinne, County Meath. Measuring 250 feet (76 meters) across and 40 feet (12 meters) high, the Newgrange mound covers an entire acre. Within the mound is a passage way that runs about one-third (about 60 feet) of its length that leads to a cross-shaped chamber. The roof of its inner chamber is stacked with huge stones in a corbelled roof pattern, arranged in an upward spiral. Newgrange was originally developed to serve as a passage tomb, containing human and animal remains. The cross-shaped hollow within contained the cremated human remains.

An interesting array of megalithic art is displayed along its passage walls and entrance stone, the majority of which are those with tri-spiral designs. The entrance stone with spiral and lozenge patterns is considered to be one of the most famous stones in the entire repertory of megalithic art, according to Ó Ríordáin, et. Al in 1964. These designs bear a close resemblance to the triskelion patterns of the Isle of Man, of ancient Sicily and other passage tombs located in Anglesey Island in North Wales.

Another interesting feature of Newgrange is its solstice window situated on top of the entrance which allows sunlight to enter and illuminate the whole chamber for a duration of 17 minutes. Whether this was created deliberately or by chance, nobody knows. It would be lovely to visit this site during this shortest day of the year (December 21st) so that you would be able to experience this event firsthand (cross your fingers for the annual lottery! They do this because of the increase in demand for this once-a-year event). If you cannot do so, a simulation of the solstice is done during Newgrange tours, which give an approximate experience of this solstice phenomenon.

Visits take place through guided tours and admission fees depend upon the site to be visited and the length of visit. They can last for one, two or three hours, depending whether you are having only an exhibition, a tour of Newgrange or its neighboring tomb Knowth, or a combination of the three. Whether your Newgrange visit be short or long, it doesn't really matter, for it certainly will be memorable.

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