Top heritage sites in Brú na Bóinne – art, tombs and stones at Newgrange

Stone circle at Newgrange, ©@bastique/Flickr

Stone circle at Newgrange, ©@bastique/Flickr

The most important monuments in Brú na Bóinne are the megalithic stones at Newgrange, Knowth and Dowth. The before mentioned monuments are enlisted as World Heritage Sites.

The most known of these three Irish passage tombs is Newgrange which dates back to approximately the 2nd or 3rd century BC. The diameter of the whole monument site is about 80 meters. The most outstanding piece among the stones is the one called the Entrance Stone which is beautifully decorated.

Tombs and stones

The monument is one single tomb that consists of a chamber in the shape of a cross and a 19 meter long passage. The passage leads to the chamber covered by a salient roof made of stones and sealed with a keystone.  Over the 5000 years since Newgrange was built the roof remained waterproof. There are basins on the floor which hold human remains. During the archeological excavation five skeletons were found but there is a high chance that the tomb hides even more of them. The bones which were discovered were mostly cremated but not all of them. Together with these remains archeologists also found polished stone balls.

The Newgrange Magnified Skeleton, ©Kewin Lawver/Flickr

The Newgrange Magnified Skeleton, ©Kewin Lawver/Flickr

Funerary Art

The most significant piece at Newgrange is the entrance stone as it has been mentioned before. However Kerbstone 52 is also a remarkable artistic piece of sculpture. There are other carved stones standing in Newgrange but not all the carvings are visible as they are carved on the inner side of the stone. The 19th stone is also an outstanding one for it has a face like design carved on it. Inside the chamber you can also see a beautiful tri-spiral design.

Newgrange Stone Age Passage Tomb, ©fachxx00/Flickr

Newgrange Stone Age Passage Tomb, ©fachxx00/Flickr

The Winter Solstice and the Stone Circle

In the Neolithic era the winter solstice, on the 21st of December was the start of a new year. Every year on the shortest day of the year, the day of the winter solstice, the light enters the chamber of Newgrange through a small opening called the roof box. It is a unique and wonderful sight. Visit during the solstice and experience the miracle of light.

Stone circle at Newgrange, ©@bastique/Flickr

Stone circle at Newgrange, ©@bastique/Flickr

Newgrange is surrounded by a large circle of stones which most probably had a purpose but to us it remains unknown. Some researchers believe that the stones had astronomical functions. It is also believed that originally the circle was made up by more stones but through the ages some of them might have broken up.

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