Last time I was at Newgrange it was as an ‘escapee’ (one of a school tour party!) too long ago to care to remember and the import of it all went clean over my head.
Most important then was escaping for a day from inside the four high stone walls of the boarding school I was at – it didn’t happen often (enough)!
I ‘re-found’ Newgrange by accident recently, while organising a few interesting places to visit with a friend from overseas.
It was a real wow! Short photo gallery below.
We have a unique opportunity here in Ireland of looking back about 5000 years, further back than the pyramids in Egypt, or Stonehenge in the UK. It’s even conceivable that some of us had ancestors involved all those years ago in building what is now a World Heritage monument at Brú na Bóinne in Co Meath.
Brú na Bóinne is a set of Neolithic age passage tombs at Newgrange, Dowth and Knowth.
Newgrange would be the best known. The passage is about 19m long and ends in a cross-shaped chamber. Basin stones are situated in each chamber where the remains of dead were found on excavation during the ’60’s.
Two things are, in my opinion, absolutely fascinating:
1. The passage is precisely orientated so that over the December solstice the sun shines through the roof box in a narrow beam directly into the tomb centre chamber
2. Legends of this spectacle were documented long before excavations began in the early ’60’s and no-one since neolithic times up to the excavations could have seen the light in the chamber because the roof box and entrance had long collapsed and were totally concealed by rocks, earth and undergrowth.
Profound. And that feeling hits you like a train when you stand in the centre chamber in pitch darkness.
In fact experts originally thought these legends related to Stonehenge.
It’s possible to book to join a small party in the chamber on the winter solstice but the list is full years in advance!
A suggestion – take a tour of Newgrange with someone who appreciates the ambience of it all, or alone, so that you can unhurriedly absorb the significance!
Have you been there? What did you think?