When I invited people to celebrate my birthday with me in Dublin, I was encouraged to see Newgrange. One of my goals is to see all the archaeological sites that I can – no small feat. There are so many listed on the UNESCO World Heritage site it is amazing. Needless to say Ireland has lots of history, it is my heritage even if I am Canadian and I was not missing this. We did not have the same tour guide that we had for the stone circles of Avesbury so we had to find another.
Normally we do not do tours because of the cost and limitations of time and well we just do not do well surrounded by lots of people.
Ireland was an exception. Three weeks was not long enough and I had more things/places that I wanted to see and do. Magpie was a wet noodle but it turns out it [Ireland] left an impression.
Back to Newgrange. I chose Mary Gibbons because she has an archaeologist background – what better way to hear about a 5000 year old site. She started flowing with information as soon as the bus started leaving O’Connell St. It was great.
Newgrange was built in the Neolithic Age by a farming community within the rich fertile area of the Boyne River, County of Meath. Newgrange is older than Stonehenge and the Great Pyramids of Giza. It is another ancient temple. To learn more, the Newgrange site can fill you in with more archaeological information.
From the outside it does not look that impressive, just a big mound. It turns out most of the mounds around Ireland are ancient temples. At the front door and around the mound are intricate carvings in the stone.
On the inside it is amazing. It is much smaller both width and height. I almost had to duck and backpacks are not allowed as you have to move sideways at one point to make it in. It is the oldest free standing building. When you see the layers of rocks to create the ceiling you realize why the open area within is so much smaller considering how big the mound is when viewed from outside. No, you are not allowed to take pictures.
Our guide has all the torches turned off and a laser turns on to simulate the sun rising on solstice. The light fills the room creating a perfect cross. It truly made the room go quiet. Speculation on what/how the temple was used is just that and our guide makes sure that we understand that it is just speculation. I do wish I could read the skies like the ancients could. A lost art.
There is a lottery that is held every year for the winter solstice. The lucky ones get to be in Newgrange to witness the awakening of sun through the temple.
You do not get to spend a lot of time within the mound as other people are waiting. With our tour we did not have to wait long as we were pre-booked. You can just show up but only a certain number of people are allowed in at a time. You could wait all day depending on the season. It was the shoulder season for us
Coming back outside you get time to walk around the mound and appreciated the workmanship and detail that was put into the construction. Just like every other ancient temple some massive stones were used and the wonder on how they were able to manipulate them abound.
I would highly recommend the tour, but I would also recommend going for any age, even if you did not take the tour.
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