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101 facts about Newgrange
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General Information
Newgrange
Newgrange, Co. Meath

1 Newgrange is one of the best examples in Ireland and in Western Europe, of a type of monument known to archaeologists as a passage-grave or passage-tomb.

2 It was constructed around 3200BC, according to the most reliable Carbon 14 dates available from archaeology. This makes it more than 600 years older than the Giza Pyramids in Egypt, and 1,000 years more ancient than Stonehenge.

3 Newgrange was built in a time when there was only stone, not metal, used as an everyday material for tools and weapons. According to Clare O'Kelly, who assisted her husband Michael O'Kelly in the excavations of Newgrange, no metal has yet been found in a primary context in an Irish passage-grave.

4 Considerable damage was caused to the stones in the chamber of Newgrange in times past due to "evily-disposed visitors" who carved their names onto the stones. This graffiti can still be seen to this day.

5 More damage was done during the construction of nearby roads. Pownall said that large quantities of stones had been removed and the roads paved with them, and archaeologists found that the flat-topped mound had a number of hollows and craters as a result of the removal of stones.

Newgrange, Knowth & Dowth

Newgrange, Knowth and Dowth

6 In 1993, Newgrange and its sister sites Knowth and Dowth were designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO because of their outstanding cultural legacy.

7 Newgrange was "rediscovered" in 1699. The landowner at the time, Charles Campbell, needed some stones and had instructed his labourers to carry some away from the cairn. It was at this time the entrance to the tomb was discovered.

8 Newgrange sits on the top of an elongated ridge within a large bend in the Boyne River about five miles west of the town of Drogheda. This area has great eminence thoughout Irish history - legend tells us the foundations of Christianity were laid here. Two miles or so downstream is Oldbridge, where the Battle of the Boyne took place in 1690.

9 Access to Newgrange is through the Brú na Bóinne Visitors' Centre at nearby Donore, just across the river Boyne. In recent times, there have been as many as 200,000 visitors to Newgrange each year, making it the most visited archaeological monument in Ireland.

10 The name "Newgrange", or New Grange, is relatively modern. The area around Newgrange was once part of the lands owned and farmed by the monks of Mellifont Abbey, and would have been known as a "grange".

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