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
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.
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
was built in a time when there was only stone, not metal, used as
an everyday material for tools and weapons. In
1993, Newgrange and its sister sites Knowth
and Dowth were designated
a World Heritage Site by UNESCO because of their outstanding cultural
beam of sunlight on the floor of the chamber at Newgrange
the Winter Solstice, the light of the rising sun enters the roofbox
at Newgrange and penetrates the passage, shining onto the floor
of the inner chamber. The sunbeam
illuminates the chamber of Newgrange for just 17 minutes.
survey of the roofbox, passage
and chamber of Newgrange by Dr. Jon Patrick in 1972 found that
the Winter Solstice orientation of the site was an original feature,
and that they were sophisticated constructions, intended to maximise
the accuracy and length of the beam entering the chamber.
has some stunning examples of megalithic
art, including the beautifully carved entrance stone, kerbstone
1, and kerbstone
52. The famous triple
spiral is featured on the entrance stone and in the chamber.
been made at Newgrange, including some curious items such as a stone
phallus and an iron wedge. One type of find which arouses the interest
of archaeologists are the Roman coins, many of which were reported
to have been found at Newgrange.
from kerbstone 52 at Newgrange. Click
for larger view.
Tuatha Dé Danann,
who ruled Ireland in ancient mythology,
were said to have erected Newgrange
as a burial place for their chief, Dagda Mór, and his three
sons. Newgrange was said to have been the place where the great
mythical hero Cúchulainn was conceived
by his mother Dechtine. His spiritual father, Lugh, visited Dechtine
in a dream while she stayed at the Brugh.
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
Mythical Ireland webmaster Anthony Murphy has written a book about Newgrange called 'Newgrange: Monument to Immortality' which examines the archaeology, the cosmology and the spirituality of the monument and its people and reaches interesting conclusions.
Newgrange challenges the classification of the monument as a
"passage-grave" or "passage-tomb", and says
there was no evidence that Newgrange was used as any sort of dedicated
repository for bodies, bones, burial artefacts or ash.
most comprehensive collection of facts about Newgrange on the internet
can be found in our "101
Facts About Newgrange" section.