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