Newgrange Passage Tomb

Newgrange , Co. Meath

Newgrange Passage Tomb
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About Newgrange Passage Tomb

Newgrange Passage Tomb in Newgrange, Co. Meath.

Newgrange is a Neolithic passage tomb built between 3,100 and 2,900 B.C. making it about 5,000 years old. It is primarily a mound, constructed of stone with grass on top. Within the mound is a chambered tomb passage which is accessed via the entrance on the south-eastern side of the mound. At the end of the passage is a cruciform chamber with a corbelled vault roof and sides made of large stone slabes. This was where the bones of the dead were originally deposited. Around the perimeter of the mound is a circle of standing stones.

Newgrange has some very fine examples of Neolithic rock art carvings.

It is speculated that the sun formed an important part of the religious beliefs of the neolithic people who built Newgrange. Once a year, at the winter solstice, the rising sun shines directly along the long passage into the chamber for about 17 minutes and illuminates the chamber floor. The sun enters the passage through a roofbox directly above the main entrance. Although solar alignments are common among passage graves, Newgrange is one of few to contain the additional roofbox feature. The solar alignment is very precise leading some to believe that these passage tombs may also have acted as calendrical or astronomical devices.

Access to Newgrange is by guided tour only through the Brú na Bóinne Visitor Centre.

Image © Copyright John M and licensed for reuse under the Creative Commons.

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