Of all the historical sites in not just Ireland but Western Europe, one rises above them all. In fact, the only other monument that could come close to the importance of Newgrange is Stonehenge in England. Dating back to 3000bc, Newgrange offers up many more questions than it can answer, but one thing is for sure, this monument was of massive importance during prehistoric times in Ireland.Newgrange is built in the form of a passage tomb, in that there is a passage way which leads to the area in the centre which serves as a tomb.
Newgrange is 85m in diameter in a circular shape, and at its highest point, 11m high. The passage is 19m long and the temperatures inside are constant all year round. The mound is held in place by 97 massive stones which circumnavigate the monument.
The entrance to the tomb is marked by several carved stones, the meaning of which has yet to be discovered. Most probably, the carvings are a map of the River Boyne and surrounding areas. The designs / carvings are circular in nature and could be described as megalithic.The centre of the tomb is polygonal with three separate recesses off the centre which would have been used as tombs.
The roof of the centre is built in an ever decreasing circle which provides height with incredible strength.The most notable aspect of Newgrange, and probably the most incredible, is the fact that on the shortest day of the year, and a couple of days either side, the sun shines directly though a small opening over the entrance through the 19 meters into the centre chamber. This was used as a rudimentary calendar and the people could then count the days until the crops should be planted.Today visitors to the monument are given an idea of what this spectacular event must look like by the use of artificial light.
The tours on December 22nd each year which witness the real thing are booked out for many years in advance..Ronan Menton is the webmaster for a number of travel related websites and has been for some time in Ireland, associated with search engine optimisation in the Irish travel industry. He spends two months a year in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and now sees it as his second home. Among the many sites he is currently working on are the following: hotels in Liverpool and hotels in Bath.
By: Ronan Menton