Newgrange in summary
Newgrange was built over
5000 years ago, approximately 3200BC, by a Neolithic (Stone Age) farming community.
Newgrange is a man made mound 85 metres (93 yards) in diameter and 13.5 metres (15 yards) high.
- The main feature of Newgrange is a 19 metre (21 yard) passage which leads to a chamber with 3 alcoves,
the passage and chamber form a cross shape.
- The passage and chamber are aligned with the rising sun at the
- Access to the chamber on the mornings around the winter solstice is by
- The 30cm (12") Triple Spiral
engraving in the chamber is the most recognizable symbol of Ancient Ireland.
- The base of the mound is surrounded by 97 large stone called kerbstones.
- Some of the kerbstones are engraved with megalithic art; the most striking is the
entrance stone K1.
- 12 standing stones from the remains of a circle that may have had 37 stones are still in
- Access to Newgrange is via the
Visitors Centre on the south bank of the river Boyne.
- The name Newgrange is relatively modern; it literally means New Grange.
In the 12th century the area became part of the
Mellifont Abbey farm. Outlying farms
were known as granges, hence the name New Grange.
- Brú na Bóinne is the original Irish name, meaning 'mansion by the
Boyne'. Visitor access to Newgrange today is via the Brú na Bóinne
- The Celts didn't build Newgrange;
it was built about 2500 years before the first Celt set foot in Ireland.
- Newgrange entered Celtic Mythology as a fairy mound. Newgrange was the home of
the god Dagda, his wife Boann and their son Aonghus the god of love.
- Two other mounds of similar size were built in the Boyne Valley - Knowth and
- The entrance to Newgrange was re-discovered in 1699. The landowner at the
time was removing stones for road building when the entrance was revealed.
- Judging from the splendour and magnificence of the Newgrange monument it was most likely
a place of astrological, spiritual, religious and ceremonial importance, much as present day cathedrals
are places of worship where dignitaries may be laid to rest.
- There is little evidence that Newgrange was used as a burial tomb. Chris O'Callaghan in his book
"Newgrange temple of Life" develops this theme.
- The roof of the inner chamber is of corbelled construction, it hasn't leaked in 5000 years.
- The reconstructed white quartz
front wall is sometimes criticized as being overly modern in appearance.
- There are a number of smaller mounds in the vicinity of the main mound.
- Newgrange, Knowth and Dowth have been designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
The official UNESCO listing is "Brú na Bóinne - Archaeological Ensemble of the Bend of the Boyne".
- Newgrange - Older than the Pyramids and Stonehenge but still subject to Irish weather.
Newgrange: Ireland's ancient answer to the pyramids
- Laura Harrison McBride
Aerial view of Newgrange
Boyne Valley Private Day Tours
Pick up and return to your accommodation or cruise ship. Suggested day tour:
Newgrange World Heritage site, 10th century High Crosses at Monasterboice,
Hill of Tara the seat of the High Kings of Ireland, Bective Abbey and Trim Castle the largest Norman castle in Ireland