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Newgrange Passage Tomb
 

County

Meath

Coordinates

N 53° 41' 40.1"   W 006° 28' 30.6"

Nearest town

Donore

Grid Ref.

O 00773 72701

Map No.

43

Elevation a.s.l. (m)

59

Date of visit

Thursday 29 May 2014

GPS Accuracy (m)

3
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As the amazing mound of the passage tomb at Newgrange appears upon entering the site.


This is the most famous and visited of the passage tombs at Brú na Bóinne. Like Dowth it is a large earth mound with a diameter of 85 metres, it is 15 metres high. It has one only entrance to southeast (135°) that is 19 metres long and leads to a large central area with a corbelled roof and three burial chambers set in a cruciform arrangement like at Dowth, Loughcrew Cairn T and Fourknocks.
The southwest burial chamber is the smallest one and probably the most damaged. The stone dish on the floor is broken in six pieces.
The northwest burial chamber has some decorations on the rear wall stone, the northeast wall slab has the famous elaborated triskell which has been used as the logo for the Brú na Bóinne centre.
The northeast burial chamber is the longest one, it has an intact stone basin and a wonderfully decorated ceiling.
The corbelled roof was built to make the central area and its chambers rainproof. It seems that no rain water has ever leaked into the tomb in the last 5500 years.
The tomb was built between 3300 and 2900 BC, so it is 500 years older than the famous Pyramid at Giza and 1000 years older than Stonehenge.
One of the most interesting features of this tomb is what is called the roofbox, an opening right above the passage lintel through which the sunlight at the sunrise of the winter solstice penetrates into the tomb and reaches the central area. Another feature is the entrance stone, a large oblong kerb stone wonderfully decorated with spiral patterns.
The mound has 97 kerb stones, some are decorated, some are not.
Originally 37 standing stones encircled the mound, today only 12 of them survives. Those 37 standing stones formed a stone circle which, it seems, was built about 1000 years before the tomb, so what remains today is part of one of the oldest stone circles in the world, about 6300 years old.
At about 60 metres from the mound towards southeast (135°) is a standing stone, an outlier, which has a concentric circles motif and some cupmarks on its northeast (45°) side.
Half of the perimeter of the mound, the one that includes the entrance, has been reconstructed with white quartz pebbles found at the site during the excavations. It is thought that the main mounds at Brú na Bóinne were decorated with white quartz that would glitter in the sunlight.
Unfortunately on the day of our visit the weather was dreadful, windy, cold and wet, so we missed this amazing effect.

The last time we came here was on May 3rd, 2002, and the weather was fantastic, I have been dreaming of another visit to this site for years, and what I got was a tremendous day.
We came here for the first time on June 23rd, 1994, the first day of our honeymoon trip.

The visit to this monument is guided only, with booking at the Brú na Bóinne Visitors' Centre.


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