After our couple of days in Dublin it was time to head west. But after catching the bus to Dublin Airport to pick up our hire car we actually drove a short distance north of Dublin to Newgrange.
This area has numerous tombs dating from the Stone Age as well as some standing stones. The only way to visit this site is via the Visitor Centre and with a guided tour. I think this is a really sensible idea because it ensures preservation of the integrity of the site. The tour also makes for a much more meaningful visit than just wandering around gazing at an incomprehensible pile of rocks.
There was no photography allowed inside the tomb, however, here are a few shots from the outside.
The decorated entrance stone – the symbols are believed to represent cultivated fields and the sun.
A circle of standing stones which is presumed to be of astronomical significance.
Another structure nearby.
View of the nearby Boyne River.
One thing that is not visible in any of the photographs is the ‘roof box’ – an opening in the roof of the entrance which allows a shaft of sunlight to illuminate the interior of the tomb for approximately 15 minutes at the winter solstice and about 3 days either side of this date. It is difficult to imagine the precision of this design being incorporated in the structure from over 5,000 years ago.
After marvelling at the accomplishments from the Stone Age, we then continued west to County Mayo where we spent the night near Ballina.