One of the great wonders of the ancient world, Newgrange is older than Stonehenge, Mycenae or even the Pyramids of Egypt. Foremost among the passage-tombs of Europe, Newgrange has long evoked the wonder of archaeologists and laymen alike. The magnificent entrance slab - 'one of the most famous stones in the entire repertory of megalithic art' - is especially satisfying, the confidently executed spiral and lozenge motifs still crisply defined after 5,000 years.
The triple spiral, found only at Newgrange, occurs both on the entrance stone and inside the chamber. The passage is long, over 60 feet (20m), and leads to a cruciform burial chamber with a corbelled roof which rises steeply upwards to a height of nearly 20 feet (6m). There are regular tours of the different sites, but advance booking of tours is recommended.
Built by Neolithic farming communities about 5000 years ago, the passage tombs have clear astronomical alignments such as the Winter Solstice Sunrise at Newgrange and the Equinox Sunrise at Loughcrew. Judging from the splendour and magnificence of Newgrange and Knowth it is likely that these temples of the ancestors were places of astrological, spiritual, religious and ceremonial importance, much as present day cathedrals are places of worship where dignitaries may be laid to rest.
Brú na Bóinne Visitor Centre, open in 1997, is designed to present the archaeological heritage of the Boyne Valley, which includes the megalithic passage tombs of Newgrange and Knowth. The Centre is the starting point for all visits to both monuments, and contains extensive interpretative displays and viewing areas.
All visitors wishing to visit Newgrange and Knowth must begin their visit at the Visitor Centre. There is no direct access to these monuments.
Last tour of monument is 1hour 30mins before closing time of the Centre. Last admission to Visitor Centre is 45 minutes before closing. All groups of 15 or more must book in advance. Please note that this is a very busy site and visitors must expect a delay in the summer months if visiting Newgrange and Knowth and access is not guaranteed.
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