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Newgrange - The Mysterious 5000 year old Irish Temple / Tomb

Updated on May 6, 2014

What is Newgrange?

Standing proudly in the heart of Ireland, Newgrange is older than the Pyramids of Giza and Stonehenge, yet not even nearly as famous. Proven to be one of the worlds few remaining passage tombs, or Ancient temples, it dates back over 5000 years. It is located in Central Ireland in an area known as Boyne Valley or Brú na Bóinne. And as amazing as this wonder is, it is not the only one. Read on to learn some of the magic that surrounds this mysterious sight and the wonderful Boyne valley.

"Monuments have been burnt, knocked to ruins, and cities destroyed."

The History of Newgrange

So who built this temple and what is so magic about it?

The Irish - The Island of Ireland, to us in the modern era, is simply called Ireland or Eire. Five sixths of the land mass is made up of the Republic of Ireland, a free and independent state, and One sixth of the Island is part of UK, and is named Northern Ireland. Throughout the centuries, and the millennia, the island has been invaded by numerous other nations, crusaders, tribes and cultures. For me, this is only relevant to show the strength of the Celtic culture and its strong existence to this day.

Nations have risen and nations have fallen. The Island has been conquered and seen countless wars. Monuments have been burnt, knocked to ruins, and cities destroyed. Yet somehow from the ashes, a unique culture always regains its strength.

Although the Celts are believed to be, all that is Irish, they too landed on this Island and settled, approximately 500 BC. Yet somehow, at least 2500 years before this, Newgrange, Dowth, Knowth, and many other tombs and temples were built. So who built Newgrange? We don't really know. Yes they were Irish, but history stretching back any further is twisted by myth. Celtic legends have records of epic battles between their forces and the Fomorians. These people were said to be the god like race which inhabited the island prior to the arrival of the Celts.

And that's not even where the mystery and magic begins. For Newgrange has a deeper meaning and is more of a magnificent feat than we could ever imagine. All of those 5000 years ago, Newgrange was constructed in such a way that it lines up with the sun, at exactly the brightest time of day on both the winter and summer solstice and when this happens, the entire interior of the tomb lights up for just a moment, as the sun shines down through a small crack above the entrance to the tomb. The thought that our ancient ancestors could build and engineer such a wonder, is just breath taking. The mound is 76 meters/ 250 feet across and 12 meters or 40 feet in height. In person, its simply fantastic.

It is hard to believe that people had the ability to build such wonders, even prior to the pyramids of Giza. Who were these Irish natives that built these wonders? These monuments, with beautiful craftsmanship and a corballed roofing system, have only recently been classified as ancient temples. Isn't it strange how other less significant structures are famous the world over, yet Newgrange continues to go unnoticed to the majority of the world.


The Art of Newgrange and Pictures of Knowth and Dowth

Who built these tombs?

We are led to believe, that the Irish are indeed Celts. And in some way, they are. However, the Celts are now proven to have spread to Ireland rather peacefully during the 5th to 6th century BC. This is where the confusion begins. Ireland has some of the oldest recordings of Kingship in the world far predating 1000 BC. Clearly these people were not Celts.

What we do know, is that there were many tribes present led by the Fir Bolg High Kings, Milesian High Kings and the infamous Tuatha De Danann. There are countless legends of these fierce cultures that I enjoyed as a child. When I researched, I found that the oldest of the high kings that landed in Ireland was named Sláine. He apparently landed in Wexford bay between 1500 BC to 2000 BC. The issue I have with this, again, is the fact that numerous huge and amazing structures were already present on the island at this time. These structures, including Newgrange, were not the work of barbarians, or small insignificant tribes. So again, who completed these works?

The more one researches, the further the history stretches back. Yet when you look at our history books on the cradle of civilization, The history of the occupants of this Island, seems to be not only left out, but sometimes purposefully avoided. This is a shame, and clearly the reason that so few people have heard of Newgrange, Dowth and Nowth, yet they have heard of Stonehenge and flock there by the million every year. Clearly as a result of an over hyped advertisement campaign.

One can't help but feel, that the lack of advertisement for Newgrange, Knowth and Dowth, may not be a lack of effort. Maybe it is an attempt to protect these relics for future generations. Nonetheless, I would tell any history enthusiast to take a look, and if you are ever in the neighborhood, take a tour. These spiritual sites are something you will remember for a lifetime.

Have you ever heard of Newgrange, Knowth, or Dowth?

Have you ever heard of Newgrange, Knowth, or Dowth?

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    • techygran profile image

      Cynthia 2 years ago from Vancouver Island, Canada

      fascinating!

    • Phyllis Doyle profile image

      Phyllis Doyle Burns 2 years ago from High desert of Nevada.

      This is a remarkable, interesting article that I definitely will share. I have researched a little on Newgrange, Dowth and Knowth and other passage tombs of Ireland - fascinating history and amazing structures. I would really like to find out who built these tombs. The pictures you chose are beautiful and really add a lot to your hub. I am surprised I missed this the first time around.

      Well done, cfin. Thank you for adding to my knowledge of Ireland's history - a favorite for me.

    • profile image

      Lee Cloak 2 years ago

      Fantastic hub about some great monuments, i haven't visited Newgrange in twenty years so i'll have to get back and bring the kids, very interesting stuff, thanks, voted up, Lee

    • cfin profile image
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      cfin 3 years ago from The World we live in

      brownella,

      It's not something I would expect everyone to have heard about. If you are interested, look into Irish history. We have some of the oldest records in the world, even further back than ancient Egypt. Many ancient Irish philosophers and wise men were famous. Many battles were fought and won, and Ireland really was home to a rich and powerful civilization that owned much of Europe including the modern day UK. Countries back then though, didn't exist, so today it's difficult for people to even understand how it was.

    • cfin profile image
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      cfin 3 years ago from The World we live in

      heidithorne,

      I'm glad you have heard of Newgrange. Ireland is covered in more, similar wonders. Sometimes I feel like we actually work to hide them rather than advertise them, seeing as Newgrange is clearly more impressive than stonehenge, yet most people are unaware of it.

    • cfin profile image
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      cfin 3 years ago from The World we live in

      Phyllis Doyle,

      I'm just glad to give you something to read and to spread this knowledge :) Glad you enjoy.

    • cfin profile image
      Author

      cfin 3 years ago from The World we live in

      Hi Peggy W,

      Thank you for sharing. For many reasons, Irish history has been hidden from the world, and only in the last few years, with Irish diplomacy at it's best once again, are these things coming to light. Irish history is very much as magnificent as ancient Greece or Egypt.

      Thank you so much for sharing. I am proud of my heritage :)

    • brownella profile image

      brownella 3 years ago from New England

      Great article. I love to history and I am ashamed to admit that I had never heard of Newgrange, Dowth and Nowth. Now that I have I will be sure to visit them when I go to Ireland. Thanks for an informative and fascinating hub.

    • heidithorne profile image

      Heidi Thorne 3 years ago from Chicago Area

      I have seen multiple documentaries on this amazing site. Just bummed I've not yet been able to see it in person. Thanks for sharing! Voted up and interesting!

    • Phyllis Doyle profile image

      Phyllis Doyle Burns 3 years ago from High desert of Nevada.

      cfin, I really enjoyed reading this hub. Anything about ancient Ireland is of great interest to me.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 3 years ago from Houston, Texas

      This is a fascinating article about which something that I knew nothing prior to reading it. I have never visited Ireland but I can understand why this should be on the bucket list if ever planning a trip to the Emerald Isle. Thanks! Up votes and will tweet, G+, pin and share with HP followers.

    • cfin profile image
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      cfin 3 years ago from The World we live in

      @ Dan,

      I hope you enjoy your trip. There are many similar monuments around the country. City wise, Dublin is a lot of fun, as are Galway and Cork. I have a few other hubs out there on Irish tourism if you want to take a glance :)

      I love the Tuatha de denann. A lot of ancient Irish history is spun off in Game of thrones and other TV shows and movies without any recognition.

      I'll have to check out the Gobleki Tepe. In the US, Americans totally ignore the ancient artifacts that scatter the land, some of which are strangely similar to newgrange, dowth and knowth.

    • Dan Barfield profile image

      Dan Barfield 3 years ago from Gloucestershire, England, UK

      Excellent and informative article cfin! This is a stunning monument - and like other ancient structures around the world defies explanation with its precision of construction and alignment to constellations and equinoxes. Though mainstream History is still reluctant to push the date of (relatively) advanced human civilisation back - place like this are a strong challenge to the current historical paradigm. Have you heard of Gobleki Tepe, the ancient site in Turkey that was recently carbon dated to the nth degree of precision to 12,000 years ago... that is the end of the last ice age! It is over 6000 years older than the great pyramid! History is not as simple as they made out at school methinks. I am planning a trip to Ireland some time next year... and this place is a high priority. Great hub - very interesting! Any mention of the Tuatha de denann always gets my attention too - fascinating and mysterious folk of legend! :)

    • DrMark1961 profile image

      Dr Mark 3 years ago from The Beach of Brazil

      Thanks for this. I climbed Croagh Patrick, visited Glendalough, and even visited the beehive huts in Kerry, but never made it to Newgrange. After reading this I wish I had. Great information.

    • cfin profile image
      Author

      cfin 4 years ago from The World we live in

      You're welcome Georgie. And there are many more like it around Ireland. I hope you can visit it someday. It is obvious, by your article that you are fond of megalithic and neolithic architecture.

    • Georgie Lowery profile image

      Georgianna Lowery 4 years ago from Lubbock, TX

      I had never heard of Newgrange, thank you for sharing the information! :)

    • cfin profile image
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      cfin 4 years ago from The World we live in

      Nafeelpc pc I am glad you enjoyed it :)

    • nafeelpc profile image

      nafeel ponnankai chiramuttil 4 years ago from kerala

      I am impressed your photo are very beautiful.

    • cfin profile image
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      cfin 4 years ago from The World we live in

      @mjfenn - Im glad you enjoyed it. I wish more people were aware of Newgrange and how great it is.

    • MJFenn profile image

      MJFenn 4 years ago

      Very interesting. I think I saw a documentary about Newgrange some while ago with commentary by former Taoiseach Charles Haughey. Kind of place that stirred dear old CJ to his roots, I suppose. Go raibh maith agat.

    • cfin profile image
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      cfin 4 years ago from The World we live in

      @locknloaded. Thank you for the comment. It is indeed a wonderful place, and one worth checking out. Have a great weekend.

    • cfin profile image
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      cfin 4 years ago from The World we live in

      @pamela. I am glad that you gave it a read, and hopefully someday you will be able to experience it in person. :)

    • cfin profile image
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      cfin 4 years ago from The World we live in

      @Marcus. Thank you. I didn't get too many votes, as i don't believe in oversharing my own work and advertising. As lo9ng as newgrange gets the recognition it deserves, that is what matters.

    • profile image

      locknloaded81 4 years ago

      AWESOME! very wonderful place .. i really want to come there. your hub is very catchy! thanks for sharing :)

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 4 years ago from United States

      This is a very interesting hub and it contained a lot of information I did not know. It is well written and obviously well researched. Welcome to Hubpages.

    • Marcus Faber profile image

      Marcus Faber 4 years ago from London, UK

      Great article cfin and congrats on your nomination. Ireland is a wonderful country with a rich history and it's a shame I didn't visit here when I've been.

    • cfin profile image
      Author

      cfin 4 years ago from The World we live in

      Thank you Ripplemaker. The nomination made me smile. Most importantly, I am glad to see some people reading up on Newgrange. It is such a wonderful and mysterious place. Visiting it on the winter solstice is something you will never forget.

    • ripplemaker profile image

      Michelle Simtoco 4 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      What an interesting history and I loved the photos too. Makes me want to go and see the place myself. Thank you for sharing Ireland. :)

      Congratulations on your Hubnuggets nomination. Let's head this way to read and vote https://hubpages.com/community/A-HubNugget-Magic-L...

    • cfin profile image
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      cfin 4 years ago from The World we live in

      Your welcome. If only everyone could be brave enough to live in harmony.

    • cfin profile image
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      cfin 4 years ago from The World we live in

      @Fordie, the ancient world amazes me and always works well for those hours where we just want to expand our knowledge.

    • cfin profile image
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      cfin 4 years ago from The World we live in

      @ DS duby. Lots of areas to look into there. Its such a great topic. Check of the hill of tara, dowth and nowth too. The Táin is also an awesome story that involves all of the same interesting settings and mysteries.

    • cfin profile image
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      cfin 4 years ago from The World we live in

      @dikan, thank you for reading. I will be writing more similar ones soon.

    • cfin profile image
      Author

      cfin 4 years ago from The World we live in

      @ DS duby. Lots of areas to look into there. Its such a great topic. Check of the hill of tara, dowth and nowth too. The Táin is also an awesome story that involves all of the same interesting settings and mysteries.

      @dikan, thank you for reading. I will be writing more similar ones soon.

      @Fordie, the ancient world amazes me and always works well for those hours where we just want to expand our knowledge.

    • dinkan53 profile image

      dinkan53 4 years ago from India

      Such an amazing photos..fresh, original!!!They bring only positive feelings. Thanks enjoyed your hub. Voted up and interesting.

    • DS Duby profile image

      DS Duby 4 years ago from United States, Illinois

      Great hub Newgrange sounds incredible. I have a fascination with ancient structures, and you definitely piqued my interest in this one. I have been wanting to write an article on Gobekli Tepi (the oldest man made structure ever known) but I'm still researching it and there's not a lot of info for it. Anyway, lol I will certainly be doing some checking into Newgrange. Voted up, awesome and interesting.

    • fordie profile image

      fordie 4 years ago from China

      Thank you. That gives me a new direction for evening searches. Much that is exaggerated has a basis in truth.

    • cfin profile image
      Author

      cfin 4 years ago from The World we live in

      That is really interesting. I will look into that. Check out the Fomorians. Although they are almost proven to have existed, and most likely, are the answer to Ireland's true ancestors, it seems that the exaggerated legends of their strength and immortality, have led to a lack of clarity on their true identity.

      If you look into it, Irish myths and legends make for an exciting read at the very least. Hollywood really needs to stop creating sequels and look at some of this stuff :)

    • fordie profile image

      fordie 4 years ago from China

      You may enjoy reading about the Tocharians. These have several traits that some believe link them to the Celts, though their culture was discovered in the far west of what we now know as China. Yes - there was a lot more movement of peoples before the history we are familiar with.

    • starbright profile image

      Lucy Jones 4 years ago from Scandinavia

      Well said @cfin. If only we could find a way to live in harmony. Wonderful hub. Thank you for sharing your insights on this awesome topic.

    • cfin profile image
      Author

      cfin 4 years ago from The World we live in

      @ fordie. And Ireland has dozens if not hundreds more of these kind of sites. Although they can now prove the DNA of these people, and the bodies found within the tombs matches the Celtic DNA shared by the majority of the Irish population(even through how prone they were to the likes of CF or other diseases found mostly in celtic genes), this brings to light the inaccuracy of the history we have learned.

      I think the only logical outcome would be to presume that these people were part of an earlier first wave of celts, or somehow the Celts who arrived later were actually their decedents, who left the Island only to return, at which point it is historically noted that the Celts arrived.

      Nonetheless, I find that uncovering these things may help people see that we were all immigrants at one time, and maybe stop the lunacy of hating on each other over race.

    • fordie profile image

      fordie 4 years ago from China

      You are right. We should know much more about these sites and the related civilization

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