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Brugh na Boyne Visitor Centre's.

& Newgrange.

Newgrange.
 

Newgrange is probably the oldest man made structure in western Europe, it predates the Egyptian pyramids by five hundred years. The monument consists of a circular cairn some 91.5 Metres (300 ft) in diameter, and 12 Meters (36 ft high) with an estimated mass of 200,000 tons. Built in the stone age when the only tools available to man were flint.

The bulk of the stone used is thought to have been quarried some twenty miles distant, at Clougherhead in County Louth. and transported to the site by some type of barge, coming down the coast and up the river Boyne. When the site was first scientifically excavated, a large quantity of white stone was found surrounding the entrance, these it was discovered came from County Wicklow, much debate ensued as to whether they were from a ceremonial path or perhaps the front wall was lined with them. It was decided the latter was the case.

The tomb is surrounded by ninety-seven curbstones, just in front of the entrance is an ornately carved stone (picture below) estimated to weigh about ten tons. It is not known what these carvings represent, similar designs are evident in other tombs such as The Hill of the Witches.

Of the builders, and their reasons for expending such vast resources of effort and time, little is known, the use to which it was put is mere speculation. Certainly it was precisely aligned astrologically, on the day of the winter solstice, the rising sun pierces to the full length of the chamber, and illuminates the now broken granite urn which, possibly once contained the cremated bones of hallowed tribal members, druids or priests.

Some sources report that the Vikings plundered Newgrange in 863.

About a mile from Newgrange to the north east is the passage tomb of Dowth, and Knowth to the north west. With two burial chambers set back to back and surrounded by 17 satellite graves. Knowth is more complex than Newgrange. Dowth is larger but is not open to the public.

 

 

The Navan Centre's.
 

The Navan heritage Centre's must surely be described as a masterpiece of design.It is partly underground, set into a high bank on the south side of the river Boyne, with a semi suspension bridge connecting to a car park on the far side of the river where buses periodically depart for tours of Newgrange and Knowth.

Inside the center you are met by pleasant staff, who will explain the options available to you. After you purchase a ticket for your chosen destination, you can wander around the many excellently presented displays, many with life size models and authentic background sounds. The Centre's is on two levels, on the top are fine vistas across the Boyne valley, these can be viewed through two small telescopes, thoughtfully set at different levels.

There is a coffee shop where you can relax while waiting for your bus, or when you return from your tour. Adjacent to the reception area is a gift shop, with a wide selection of books relating to the pre history of Ireland and elsewhere, and many other subjects too numerous to mention.

If you are visiting Ireland, or even if you are a resident a visit to Newgrange will give you a valuable insight of early mans endeavors in the country. The existence of Newgrange is testament to the fact that five thousand years ago in the Boyne valley, there lived a highly structured society, far advanced from the earlier hunter gatherers. This society was organized in such a way that they could afford to allocate vast resources in time and effort, over a period, it is estimated of two generations, building a structure which obviously was of great religious or cultural significance to them.

Watch a series of video's about Newgrange in 9 parts.

See also The Hill of the Witches.

Newgrange & Knowth
Donore
Co Meath
Tel +353 (0)41 9880 300
Fax +353 (0)41 9883 071
Web Site
E Mail


The centre is staffed all year but is only open until early September.
From NI exchange 041 for 048

Get a Google Map of The Navan Centre.

 

 

 

World's Oldest Sundial.
 

The image on the right is thought to be the oldest sundial in the world it is carved on a stone outside the tomb of Knoth in County Meath.

The two holes in the center of the image probably held the gnomon (Object used to cast the shadow.)