Newgrange 2

You’ve heard about Stonehenge, of course, but are you familiar with Newgrange?

Just across the water, in Ireland, Newgrange is a temple even older than the mysterious stones at Salisbury Plain. 97 standing stones surround the megalithic tomb.

You’ll be with a guide; can’t wander about on your own in here; small groups are let in at one time. The reason will beome apparent once inside. While you wait, be sure to have a look at the entrance and note the patterns carved into the rock.

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What it means? If only we knew…

Entering the mound, after a slightly claustrophobic walk along a long, narrow corridor (not unlike that of the pyramids at Giza), we come to an unusual chamber; one built so that it is illuminated exactly at sunrise on winter solstice. Travelling back 5000 years, I can just imagine standing in this dark chamber, watching the light fill the little room on the morning after the longest night of the year. To help our imagination, the guide shows us how it all works, using a torch.

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Back out in daylight among the the standing stones, we wander. And wonder.

Newgrange practicals

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  • Newgrange is about one hour’s drive from Dublin.
  • The number of visitors is limited, so show up early.
  • Opening hours are 0930 – 1700 daily, longer in summer.
  • Newgrange is part of the Brú na Bóinne complex, which also comprises the mounds at nearby Knowth and Dowth
  • Admission fees vary, depending on what you want to see. For Newgrange and the visitor centre the price is EUR 6/5/3/3 for adults/senior/child/student
  • No photography inside the chamber.
  • Want to visit Newgrange at Winter Solstice? You’re not the only one, so fill in a lottery ticket and hope for the best. Local children draw 50 lucky names at the end of September every year.

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Brú na Bóinne – Archaeological Ensemble of the Bend of the Boyne is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Here are more UNESCO World Heritage sites around the world.

Disclosure: I was at Newgrange as a guest of Fáilte Ireland. Naturally, I have complete freedom to write whatever I want – or nothing at all. As ever.