Newgrange is a prehistoric monument built over 5,000 years
ago as a tomb and temple comparable to modern day cathedrals. It was built in
County Meath during the Neolithic period, which means it is older than the
pyramids or Stonehenge. Newgrange is a large, circular shaped mound with an inner
passageway that leads to a chamber inside. The retaining wall around it is
surrounded by large stones decorated with artwork.
Some of the artwork
Newgrange from a distance
Newgrange is probably best known for the winter solstice,
when the passageway and chamber are lightened by the rising sun. From December
19th to 23rd, at dawn, a beam of light pierces the small
window above the entrance and as the sun, the beam grows to illuminate the
whole chamber. Newgrange is an extraordinarily accurate time-telling device
that was most likely used to mark the beginning of the new year.