Newgrange Megalithic Passage Tomb
The Megalithic Passage Tomb at Newgrange was built about 3200 BC. The kidney shaped
mound covers an area of over one acre and is surrounded by 97 kerbstones, some of
which are richly decorated with megalithic art. The 19 metre long inner passage
leads to a cruciform chamber with a corbelled roof. It is estimated that the
construction of the Passage Tomb at Newgrange would have taken a work force of 300
at least 20 years.
Front view of Newgrange with white quartz facade
The passage and chamber of Newgrange are illuminated by the
winter solstice sunrise.
A shaft of sunlight shines through the roof box over the
entrance and penetrates
the passage to light up the chamber. The dramatic event lasts for 17 minutes at dawn
on the Winter Solstice and for a few mornings either side of the Winter
Admission to the Newgrange chamber for the Winter Solstice sunrise is by
lottery, application forms are available at the Brú na Bóinne
Visitor Centre. About 30,000 applications are submitted annually.
In September each year, 50 names are drawn with 2 places are awarded to each
Megalithic mounds such as Newgrange entered Irish mythology as sídhe or
fairy mounds. Newgrange was said to be the home of Oenghus, the god of
love. The Passage Tomb at Newgrange was re-discovered in 1699 by
the removal of material for road building. A major
excavation of Newgrange began in 1962; the original facade of sparkling
white quartz was rebuilt using stone found at the site.
World Heritage Site
Newgrange has been designated a World Heritage Site by
attracts 200,000 visitors per year. There is no direct access to the Passage Tomb at
Newgrange, access is by guided tour from the Brú na Bóinne Visitor
Centre located close to the village of Donore, Co. Meath. The last tour of
Newgrange is 90 minutes before closing time of the Visitor Centre. Groups of 15 or more must book in advance.
of Newgrange with the option to display larger views.
Twelve Standing Stones survive of what may have been an arc at the front of the
mound or possibly a complete circle of about 35 stones surrounding the mound.
from inside the chamber at Newgrange including the tri-spiral design on orthostat C10
which is probably the most famous Irish Megalithic symbol. It is
often referred to as a Celtic design, but it was carved at least 2500 years before
the Celts reached Ireland. At 12 inches in
diameter the tri-spiral design is quite small in size, less than one-third the size
of the tri-spiral design on the
The Gavrinis passage tomb
in Brittany is remarkable similar to Newgrange. The cairn is about
5500 years old, it is 60 metres in diameter and covers a
passage and chamber which is lined with elaborately engraved stones.
In the passage and chamber 23 of the 29 upright stones are
engraved with zig-zags, concentric circles, herring bones, axes, bows and arrows.
Newgrange - Brú na Bóinne DVD
This DVD takes you on a journey to Ireland's ancient past,
to the World Heritage Site of
Brú na Bóinne. This is where the River Boyne meanders into a dramatic bend
and the landscape is dominated by the spectacular 5000 year old passage tombs of
Newgrange, Knowth and Dowth.
All Regions DVD, duration 21 minutes, Price 16.00 Euro.