|Tom and Rob - and it was sunny out!|
|The New Grange Mound|
http://www.tourdublin.ie. He is AMAZING. He took us to historic places that went back before the pyramids, some 5,000 years ago. Kieran was fun, personable, a walking encyclopedia of knowledge and history. It was like spending the day with an old friend and we had a good share of laughs, too.
The first stop we went to was about 30 miles north of Dublin in a place called the Boyne Valley
|Quartz wall outside the New Grange Mound|
WHAT IS THE BOYNE VALLEY? - According to Tour Dublin, The Boyne Valley was home to some of the earliest settlements in Ireland due to its fertile land and access to the sea. The Boyne Valley includes old Newgrange passage tomb, the Hill of Tara, Oldbridge, Drogheda, and many more things. This blog will explore New Grange and we'll get to some of the others in the next blogs!
As a result there are some fantastic historical and archaeological sites of interest to be seen on your private tour of Newgrange. Some of the finest examples of early Megalithic passage tombs in Europe are to be found here. The Megalithic Passage Tomb at Newgrange was built about 3,200 BC.
WHAT DOES NEWGRANGE MEAN? - The name "Newgrange" or New Grange, is relatively modern. The area around Newgrange was once part of the lands owned and farmed by the monks of Mellifont Abbey, and would have been known as a "grange".
|The rebuilt entrance for visitors|
|A look across the Boyne Valley|
|Tom behind the mound at hieroglyphics|
WHAT HAPPENS? - 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 from the 19th to the 23rd of December.
ENTRANCE AT NEWGRANGE -
At the entrance to Newgrange stands a highly-decorated stone.The carvings on the stone include a triple spiral motif which is found only at Newgrange and is repeated along the passage and again inside the chamber.It is unknown what the meaning of these carvings are. Newgrange is one of three passage tombs in The Boyne Valley, the others being Knowth and Dowth. In 1962, restoration work on the tomb began under the supervision of Professor Michael J O'Kelly. The structure was taken apart piece by piece and then reconstructed. This work continued until 1975. Newgrange has been designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and attracts 200,000 visitors per year.
INSIDE THE PASSAGEWAY - Photos were not allowed inside, so we're using a photo of the inside from http://www.tourdublin.ie.
It was a very low entrance into the mound and the walls were tight. It is not for people who are claustrophobic.
Once you get inside there are three small chambers -one at the back of the mound and one on either side. All three of them have small hieroglyphic markings, like those that Tom is standing next to in this photo - taken BEHIND and outside the mound.
(Newgrange contains various examples of abstract Neolithic rock art carved onto it which provide decoration)
|Inside the mound- Credit: TourDublin.ie|
HOW DID THEY BUILD IT?
|Example of how massive stones were moved to build the mound|
|Huts built by people of 5,000 years ago|
HOW WAS NEWGRANGE RE-DISCOVERED? -Newgrange was "rediscovered" in 1699. The landowner at the time, Charles Campbell, needed some stones and had instructed his labourers to carry some away from the cairn. It was at this time the entrance to the tomb was discovered.
NEXT: Monasterboice: one of Ireland's best-known and oldest religious sites