Newgrange, County Meath
Fee-Paying Tourist Attraction in Ireland #12
The Brú Na Bóinne Visitor Centre is most often simply referred to as Newgrange. The Passage Tomb at Newgrange was constructed over 5000 years ago, before Stonehenge in England or the Pyramids in Egypt. It was constructed by 'Stone Age' humans as a place of astrological, spiritual, religious and ceremonial importance and as such is a truly remarkable achievement.
The 'World Heritage Site' at Newgrange is a large mound of earth covering a tomb-like structure. The 19 metre long inner passage leads to an inner cruciform chamber with a corbelled roof. Newgrange is one of series of structures built along the River Boyne that includes Knowth and Dowth. The construction is remarkable. At the annual Winter solstice, from December 18th to 23rd, a narrow beam of light penetrates the roof-box and reaches the floor of the chamber. As the sun rises higher, the beam widens within the chamber so that the whole room becomes dramatically illuminated. A remarkable feat of engineering by any standard.
Access to the site is by guided tour only. A visit to the Brú na Bóinne Visitor Centre is followed by a short bus trip to the monument. Visitors can drive to the visitor center directly or avail of one of the many bus tour packages or private tours that are available. Newgrange is located approximately 58km from Dublin city centre, allow an hour to drive there.
Apart from Newgrange the Boyne Valley is also home to the Hill of Tara, the Village of Slane, Trim Castle, Bective Abbey and much more. A full day at a minimum should be allowed to visit Newgrange while this area is certainly worthy of a couple of days exploration. As always a little planning will go a long way to a rewarding experience here.
Ireland is blessed with many sites and attractions to delight visitors. Perhaps none can be regarded as being as 'pure' an experience as Newgrange. These monuments are the exact polar opposite of the commercialized tourist experiences offered in some other parts of the country. Certainly there is a place for every kind of tourist attraction and this is not to denigrate those that are perhaps more contrived than Newgrange. Rather, there is just no escaping the connection that a visitor can make with Ireland and the Irish culture by a visit to these ancient stones and rocks. It is as close an experience as you will get to connecting with the ancient peoples who lived on this island.
Find out more at: http://www.newgrange.com
Video about Newgrange, County Meath
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