Newgrange

10 May 2007 at 6:38 pm Leave a comment

NewgrangeNewgrange is the best known Irish passage tomb. It was constructed around 3200BC, this makes it more than 500 years older than the Giza Pyramids in Egypt and 1,000 years more ancient than Stonehenge. It is about 80m in diameter and is surounded by a kerb of 97 stones. Some of these are elaborately carved. Inside the mound is a passageway lined with roughly-hewn stone slabs, which leads to a cross-shaped chamber.

The entrance to the passage is a simple doorway formed by two upright slabs and a horizontal lintel. Above the doorway is a hole known as the roofbox. The passageway has an amazing feature: although built from roughly-hewn rock, it is aligned in such a way that the rising sun shines through the roofbox, down the passageway, and lights up the central chamber on the morning of the Winter Solstice (21 or 22 December). This amazing fact was only discovered during the 19th Century and verified scientifically around 1960. While initially dismissed as coincidence, it is now generally accepted that the mound was designed with this in mind. It shows that the people of 5000 years ago were far more sophisticated than we generally think.

Newgrange is open to the public by guided tour only. Visitors must report to the Brú na Bóinne Visitor Centre on the opposite side of the River Boyne, where they walk across a pedestrian bridge and are brought by coach to the site.

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