Explore Ireland’s ancient past with a visit to Newgrange (Brú na Bóinne), a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Newgrange is a restored rock tomb from the stone age, and is older than the Egyptian pyramids. Some of the materials used to build this passage tomb were extracted from the Wicklow Mountains. During excavations, grave items and human bones were uncovered by archaeologists.
On the outside of the chambers are megalithic art with circular motifs, which is arguably one of Ireland’s most influential forms of art.The tomb was discussed widely throughout Irish folklore.
This neolithic site is found in county Meath, and is the most iconic structure of Bru na Boinne. It can be accessed from Dublin by the following options:
1. Rent a car
2. Take a tour from Dublin (I recommend Mary Gibbons’ tours, which also stops at the Hill of Tara. Further below, I expand upon my experience with this tour)
3. Take the train to Drogheda, followed by bus 163 or a cab ride.
You must go to the visitor center to access this tomb. If you book with a tour, your entry ticket should be included in the price. However if you’re going on your own to the site, you can book a ticket to access it on the day, but will need to wait for your time slot. The visitor center offers an exhibit of the Newgrange and its history.
During the tour of the chamber, you will experience a demonstration of how the light enters through its roof-box during the winter solstice. Although I majored in Art History during my undergrad, I feel that this site would be of interest and appreciated by tourists without an art history/archaeology background. It truly felt otherworldly.
As I mentioned earlier, if you’re looking for a Newgrange tour from Dublin, I highly recommend Mary Gibbons’ tours. Before arriving at Newgrange, the tour brought us to the Hill of Tara, where the High Kings of Ireland were crowned. As I also wanted to visit this place, the tour felt perfectly tailored to my interests. I went on this tour during November, and the group size was small. More importantly, the guide was an archaeologist that not only exercised a wealth of knowledge, but kept the information engaging throughout the day.