My husband and I toured Ireland last year. One impressive site we visited was the ancient passage tomb of Newgrange in the Boyne River Valley.*
Newgrange is a 5,200 year old passage tomb located in the Boyne Valley of Ireland
Newgrange was built by Stone Age farmers. The mound is 85 meters (93 yards) in diameter and 13.5 meters (15 yards) high, an area of about 1 acre.
A passage measuring 19 meters (21 yards) leads into a chamber with 3 alcoves. The passage and chamber are aligned with the rising sun at the Winter Solstice.
Newgrange is surrounded by 97 large stones called kerbstones some of which are engraved with megalithic art; the most striking is the entrance stone.
Newgrange is a Stone Age (Neolithic) monument in the Boyne Valley, County Meath, it is the jewel in the crown of Ireland’s Ancient East. Newgrange was constructed about 5,200 years ago (3,200 B.C.) which makes it older than Stonehenge and the Great Pyramids of Giza. Newgrange is a large circular mound 85 meters (93 yards) in diameter and 13.5 meters (15 yards) high with a 19 meter (21 yard) stone passageway and chambers inside. The mound is ringed by 97 large kerbstones, some of which are engraved with symbols called megalithic art.
Newgrange was built by a farming community that prospered on the rich lands of the Boyne Valley. Knowth and Dowthare similar mounds that together with Newgrange have been designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
Archaeologists classified Newgrange as a passage tomb, however Newgrange is now recognized to be much more than a passage tomb. Ancient Temple is a more fitting classification, a place of astrological, spiritual, religious and ceremonial importance, much as present day cathedrals are places of prestige and worship where dignitaries may be laid to rest.
Newgrange is a large kidney shaped mound covering an area of over one acre, retained at the base by 97 kerbstones, some of which are richly decorated with megalithic art. The 19 meter long inner passage leads to a cruciform chamber with a corbelled roof. The amount of time and labor invested in construction of Newgrange suggests a well-organized society with specialised groups responsible for different aspects of construction.
Newgrange is part of a complex of monuments built along a bend of the River Boyne known collectively as Brú na Bóinne. The other two principal monuments are Knowth (the largest) and Dowth, but throughout the area there are as many as 35 smaller mounds.
*The information in this article was taken from www.newgrange.com. The photographs were taken by Brenda B. Taylor.