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Newgrange Megalithic Passage Tomb

Newgrange Ireland
Front view of Newgrange with white quartz facade

The Megalithic Passage Tomb at Newgrange was built about 3200 BC. The kidney shaped mound covers an area of over one acre and is surrounded by 97 kerbstones, some of which are richly decorated with megalithic art. The 19 metre long inner passage leads to a cruciform chamber with a corbelled roof. It is estimated that the construction of the Passage Tomb at Newgrange would have taken a work force of 300 at least 20 years.

New Grange illuminated by the Winter Solstice sun.

Winter Solstice

The passage and chamber of Newgrange are illuminated by the winter solstice sunrise. A shaft of sunlight shines through the roof box over the entrance and penetrates the passage to light up the chamber. The dramatic event lasts for 17 minutes at dawn on the Winter Solstice and for a few mornings either side of the Winter Solstice.

Admission to the Newgrange chamber for the Winter Solstice sunrise is by lottery, application forms are available at the Brú na Bóinne Visitor Centre. For the 2011 draw 31,531 applications were submitted. In September each year, 50 names are drawn with 2 places are awarded to each name drawn.

Megalithic Mounds

Megalithic mounds such as Newgrange entered Irish mythology as sídhe or fairy mounds. Newgrange was said to be the home of Oenghus, the god of love. The Passage Tomb at Newgrange was re-discovered in 1699 by the removal of material for road building. A major excavation of Newgrange began in 1962; the original facade of sparkling white quartz was rebuilt using stone found at the site.

World Heritage Site

Newgrange has been designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and attracts 200,000 visitors per year. There is no direct access to the Passage Tomb at Newgrange, access is by guided tour from the Brú na Bóinne Visitor Centre located close to the village of Donore, Co. Meath. The last tour of Newgrange is 90 minutes before closing time of the Visitor Centre. Groups of 15 or more must book in advance.
New Grange - Tri-spiral Megalithic Art

Newgrange Passage Tomb with 4 of the existing 12 standing stones.

Newgrange Images

Images of Newgrange with the option to display larger views. Twelve Standing Stones survive of what may have been an arc at the front of the mound or possibly a complete circle of about 35 stones surrounding the mound.

Newgrange Chamber

Images from inside the chamber at Newgrange including the tri-spiral design on orthostat C10 which is probably the most famous Irish Megalithic symbol. It is often referred to as a Celtic design, but it was carved at least 2500 years before the Celts reached Ireland. At 12 inches in diameter the tri-spiral design is quite small in size, less than one-third the size of the tri-spiral design on the entrance stone.

New Grange Tri-Spiral

Gavrinis Megalithic Art


The Gavrinis passage tomb in Brittany is remarkable similar to Newgrange. The cairn is about 5500 years old, it is 60 metres in diameter and covers a passage and chamber which is lined with elaborately engraved stones.

In the passage and chamber 23 of the 29 upright stones are engraved with zig-zags, concentric circles, herring bones, axes, bows and arrows.

Newgrange Coin Set

The Central Bank of Ireland have issued a Newgrange Coin Set. Newgrange is the theme for the 2008 uncirculated Coin Set, the sixth and final mint set in the 'Heritage of Ireland' series. The set was officially launched on 21st December 2007 following the Winter Solstice at Newgrange. The cost of the Newgrange Coin Set is €24 plus postage. More...

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Boyne Valley Tours Private Tour with pick up and return to your accommodation. Newgrange World Heritage site, the 10th century High Crosses at Monasterboice, Hill of Tara the seat of the High Kings, Bective Abbey and Trim Castle the largest Norman castle in Ireland More ...
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Newgrange - Further Reading

  • Directions to the Brú na Bóinne Visitor Centre the access point to Newgrange.
  • Photographs of New Grange by Annaliese Moyer - Insight Photographic.
  • Emerald Sun - prologue to the historical novel The Princes of Ireland by Edward Rutherfurd. The prologue sets the scene of ancient Ireland with the winter solstice at Newgrange the centrepiece.
  • Newgrange: empowering the salmon of wisdom by Philip Coppens.

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