It was our third time lucky for us to find this ancient masterpiece of architecture. The first time we got lost driving down the beautiful Irish countryside road and ended up in the Battle of the Boyne, which honestly wasn’t a bad thing as the tour and history of the fight for Ireland was not only fascinating but worth the time spent there. The second time we got lost in the narrow roads between Dundalk and Slane and by the time we got there the last tour bus has already departed from the visitors centre.
This time, not only did we leave early, but we were also armed with a SATNAV though we did get lost again…..yea I know…the SATNAV was confusing. We finally made it to the tourist centre… we paid and had few minutes to kill while we wait for the bus to take us down to the Newgrange site. We did a tour around the exhibition while we waited for the bus. The exhibition tells the beautiful story of the history of the Bru na Boinne in pictures and crafts, depicting the sort of life the habitants must have lived.
The bus ride down to the Newgrange site was short and beautiful. It was like looking through a postcard or painted canvas of landscapes overlooking the village of Slane. This archaeological landscape was built in the Neolithic age which dates back more than 5000 years. The Bru na Boinne is made up of three passage tombs, the Knowth, Newgrange and Dowth. These contain the largest assemblage of megalithic arts in Western Europe.
According to the tour guide, nothing is known of the people that built neither this monstrous structure nor the habitants of the community around it. But entering the tomb showed an awesome display of genuine expertise and knowledge of every known craft in the world, including architecture, engineering, astronomy, and a splendour sparkle of artistic endeavour. This according to legend indicates a highly organised and settled society where rituals and other ceremonies take place both for the living and the dead and as a medium of communication to their ancestors.
It is believed that the tombs fell into disuse around 2900BC. The tomb it was said was discovered accidentally by a farmer that was clearing the area for cultivation.
One of the greatest designs of the Newgrange tomb is the illumination of the passage and chamber by the winter solstices sun. There is a lottery for this and from all accounts heard it is worth it and visitors should fill out the lottery form at the visitors centre reception…oh did I mention it is free….
The marvels to me during the trip is standing in the tombs chamber and seeing the amazing craftsmanship in laying the stones and patter in which it was laid and thinking that all these thousands and thousands of years passed and years to come not a single drop of rain have ever penetrated those stones and the art designs are stunning….never stop wondering who the heck these people where…where did they come from and what really does happen to them?
The Bru na Boinne is one of the few United Nations world heritage sites in Ireland. It is a breathtaking landscape and architectural masterpiece and a must-see when you visit Ireland.