Newgrange Megalithic Passage Tomb

Newgrange Ireland
Front view of Newgrange with white quartz facade

The Megalithic Passage Tomb at Newgrange was built about 3,200 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.

Winter Solstice

New Grange illuminated by the Winter Solstice sun. The passage and chamber inside the Newgrange mound is illuminated by the winter solstice sunrise. A shaft of sunlight shines through the roof-box over the entrance and penetrates the 19m (63ft) passage to light up the chamber. The dramatic event lasts for 17 minutes at dawn on the Winter Solstice and 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. About 30,000 applications are submitted annually. In September each year, 50 names are drawn with 2 places awarded to each person drawn.

Megalithic Mounds

Megalithic mounds, like Newgrange, became intertwined with Irish mythology, identified as sídhe or fairy mounds. According to legend, Newgrange was believed to be the residence of Oenghus, the deity associated with love. The Passage Tomb at Newgrange, initially obscured and later unearthed in 1699 during road construction, underwent a significant excavation starting in 1962. The restoration efforts included rebuilding the original sparkling white quartz facade, utilizing stones sourced from the site.

World Heritage Site

New Grange - Tri-spiral Megalithic Art 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.

Newgrange Images

Newgrange Passage Tomb with 4 of the existing 12 standing stones. Images of Newgrange, 12 standing stones survive of an estimated 35 stones that once surrounding the monument. The large mound is built of alternating layers of earth and stones and is 85m (279ft) across and 13m (43ft) high, and covers 4,500 sq.m (1 acre) of ground.

Newgrange Chamber

New Grange Tri-Spiral 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.


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.

Winter Solstice Sunbeam inside Newgrange
The Winter Solstice Sunbeam inside Newgrange

Newgrange - Further Reading

Private Tour to Newgrange, Knowth, and the Boyne Valley

Embark on a journey through time and heritage with our exclusive private tour to Newgrange, Knowth, and other captivating sites nestled in the enchanting Boyne Valley. Immerse yourself in the rich history and mystique of these World Heritage sites, where ancient wonders come to life.

Newgrange and Knowth, both designated as UNESCO World Heritage sites, stand as testament to the ingenuity of our ancestors. Dating back over 5,000 years, these Neolithic passage tombs are older than Stonehenge and the Great Pyramids of Giza. Step inside the chambers of Newgrange, where the winter solstice illuminates a narrow passage, casting an ethereal light on the ancient carvings within. Explore Knowth, adorned with megalithic art, and unravel the mysteries of a bygone era.

Visit the megalithic passage tombs at Newgrange and Knowth with the on-site guide. These are UNESCO World Heritage sites so you will be joining others on the official tour. Beyond the renowned Newgrange and Knowth, our private tour takes you on an intimate exploration of lesser-known gems in the Boyne Valley.

Leave the logistics to us as you embark on a stress-free exploration of the Boyne Valley. Our private tours ensure a personalized and comfortable experience from the moment we pick you up at your accommodation to the time we drop you back.

Newgrange Aerial view
Newgrange UNESCO World Heritage Site - Aerial View

Boyne Valley Private Day Tour

Boyne Valley Tours
Immerse yourself in the rich heritage and culture of the Boyne Valley with our full-day private tours. Visit Newgrange World Heritage site, explore the Hill of Slane, where Saint Patrick famously lit the Paschal fire. Discover the Hill of Tara, the ancient seat of power for the High Kings of Ireland. Book Now