Newgrange – Brú na Bóinne is a prehistoric monument located in the Boyne Valley in County Meath, it is a fantastic example of Ireland’s Ancient East and was discovered in 1699 by a local landowner, who was removing stones and uncovered the entrance to this spectacular tomb. Access to the Newgrange monument is through the Bru na Boinee Visitors Centre, and is by guided tour only. It is the most visited archaeological monument in Ireland and one of the world’s most important prehistoric landscapes.
It is one of the finest examples in Ireland and Western Europe of a monument known to archaeologists as a passage-grave, although its purpose has been upgraded to an Ancient Temple. It is thought that it took several hundred Stone Age farmers about thirty years to build. This passage tomb was constructed around 3,200 BC making it over five thousand years old, older than Stonehenge and the Great Pyramids of Giza. The kidney shaped mound is 85 metres in diameter and 13.5 metres high, in an area of about one acre. The passage is 19 metres long and takes visitors into a cruciform chamber with corbelled roof and three alcoves. The passage and chamber are aligned with the rising sun at the Winter Solstice, this lasts for around seventeen minutes and draws thousands of visitors each year, although only a few get entry to the chamber by means of a lottery draw.
Newgrange is enclosed by ninety seven large stones known as kerbstones, several are engraved with symbols that are termed as megalithic art. The entrance stone is the most decorated and most impressive stone. The purpose of these stones is not fully known but are thought to have an astronomical purpose.
The Newgrange site is home to a network of monuments that were erected along a bend of the River Boyne. The other two main monuments are Knowth, the biggest and Dowth. However there are numerous other smaller mounds located in the area. Visitors will also get spectacular views of the Boyne Valley particularly on a clear day.
There is no public access to the tombs. Tours vary in duration depending on whether visitors do both tombs. They are extremely interesting, the guides are knowledgeable, friendly and informative. The Visitor Centre is an information centre providing additional information on the area and the people who would have lived here, through exhibitions, an audio visual presentation and full scale replicas of the tombs and chamber at Newgrange. Leaflet guides are available in several languages.