Living in Ireland: IV If You Are Going to Ireland, Newgrange is a Must
Newgrange Frontal View
If You Are Going to Ireland, Newgrange is a Must
Newgrange prehistoric site (also known as Bru Na Boinne) is located just 20 miles north of Dublin near the city of Drogheda in County Meath. You can get there by bus (Irish Tourist Bureau) or by personal car from Dublin north on M1 Motorway to Donore Exit and turn right to the village of Dunore 6 miles distant and follow the signs from the village to Newgrange Visitor Center four and a half miles away.
All tour groups (led by archeologists) leave from the Visitor Center. Only groups of 15 or more need to book in advance. Once you stand before this gigantic passage tomb built 5,200 years ago, it is probable that the twenty-first century will dissolve way. This Megalithic Passage Tomb occupies one full acre with a 250 foot diameter and stands over 40 feet high, surrounded by 97 kerbstones, some with megalithic designs. But what draws your attention immediately is the ancient entrance stone with tri-spiral designs (see accompanying images).
Once your tour group enters this passage tomb for the repose of ashes of ancient tribal chieftans, you will be amazed by the intricate stone structure of the 70 foot long passage way that leads to an inner cruciform chamber with a corbelled (dove-tailed) stone ceiling. The tour guide will explain the features of this room and that it is fully illuminated by the rising sun for 17 minutes during the winter solstice only. She will then turn off the lights for your group to experience total darkness for a moment or two and then turn on a simulated sunrising light that creeps from the entrance way into the inner chamber.
It is estimated that at least 300 megalithic tribesmen built this structure taking 20 years to do so. The inner rock walls were covered by earth to form a mound one acre in size. Newgrange has been designated a World Heritage Site by Unesco that is 500 years older than the Egyptian pyramids! It is the best preserved prehistoric site in western Europe. In current times around 200,000 people visit it each year. I had the great pleasure, back in 1967, of being a solitary visitor who stood in the inner chamber all by my lonesome self feeling the presence of something very forceful.
I finally, years later, wrote a novel Spirit Mound: a novel of ancient Ireland (available through Amazon.com under Richard F. Fleck) about the tribal construction of this site and of their going as far away as the Wicklow Mountains to the south and the Mountains of Mourne to the north for special stones weighing thousands of pounds. I speculated that they used glacial ice and a spirit-force to transport these special stones some sixty miles in a periglacial Ireland..This is the only novel there is about Newgrange. Of course, there are many archeological studies available under the topic of Newgrange*
*To the best of my knowledge, my novel Spirit Mound: a novel of ancent Ireland (2005) is the only novel about Newgrange. We had the good fotune of visiting Newgrange for the 10th time this past summer as well as Knowth burial mound.
For further commentary, go to www.knowth.com/newgrange.htm
Spirit Mound: A Novel of Ancient Ireland
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