5000 years of history
If you haven’t heard of Newgrange, then hopefully this post will make you want to visit! It’s a Unesco Heritage Site famous for its megalithic passage tomb that’s older than the Pyramids. It’s a must on anyone’s list if they’re visiting Ireland or even if you’re from here! Give yourself a whole morning or afternoon if you do visit so you can really enjoy all it has to offer without rushing anything. I don’t want to give away any spoilers about it, it’s a magnificent place and we both loved every minute of our visit. We entered the lottery to get into the passage tomb on the Winter Solstice - they let limited numbers in every year and the waiting list is huge. It was purposely built so that at that specific time of year only, the burial chamber at the end of the passage is lit up by the rising sun. The rest of the year it’s completely pitch black inside. The theories behind its creation and the significance of the other nearby passage tombs, Knowth and Dowth, are still debated with renewed archaeological investigations revealing potentially groundbreaking discoveries about Neolithic structures and their meanings.
The guides are sincerely passionate about their role in educating visitors and help to make for an unforgettable experience. We were lucky enough to be there at a really quiet time of year so there weren’t too many people on our tour. We got to have a long chat with our guide who kindly answered our 101 questions! We still came away with an increasing curiosity and a thirst for more knowledge. As I said earlier, I don’t want to give away all its secrets, it should be experienced but do try to avoid the high season (summer months) for a more intimate visit and fewer queues.
Another tip is to maybe bring a packed lunch. We ended up eating in the cafe but it’s expensive and very busy so we regretted not bringing our own little picnic. There are plenty of birds singing happy songs around the grounds, we could have shared our lunch with them.
We made sure we took time to walk around the exhibition inside the main building as well, as it really helped add to the understanding of Neolithic life and the extraordinary skill and effort that went into building the structures.
If you found this fascinating, then you should check out another amazing site that's not too far away from Newgrange. Check out our blog post all about Loughcrew Cairns which is aligned with the Spring and Autumn Equinox. For more easy day trips you can do from Dublin, head on over to our posts about Glendalough Monastic Settlement, The Vale of Clara and The Rock of Dunamase.