Visit a vast burial mound that was built around 3200 B.C., and has an internal chamber that’s illuminated by the winter solstice.
For more than 5,000 years, the ancient tomb of Newgrange has stood on the banks of the River Boyne. This huge burial mound was built by Stone Age farmers and is surrounded by a ring of large stones. Step inside the prehistoric structure and learn about the Neolithic society that built it.
Before heading out to the burial site, tour the visitor center. Browse exhibits that explain how the mound was built and that detail the homes, lives, tools and food of Neolithic people who used to live in the area. Then get on the shuttle bus for the short journey to the ancient attraction.
The flat-topped mound is 279 feet (85 meters) in diameter and 44 feet (13.5 meters) high. Stroll down the entrance passage, which is lined with large stones that feature numerous examples of megalithic art, such as carvings of concentric circles. Once inside the main chamber, walk over to its three recesses. These areas used to hold the remains of the dead. Note that the burial chamber isn't wheelchair accessible. However, there is a full-scale replica inside the visitor center which can be explored by wheelchair users.
Probably the most exciting time to be here is during the Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year, which is December 21. At dawn, a narrow beam of light penetrates the entrance and creeps toward the chamber. Marvel at this feat of engineering, designed to capture the sun. So popular is this event that you have to enter a lottery to be in the chamber when it happens. Application forms are available at the visitor center. If you don't win a place, you can stand outside the mound.
Access to Newgrange is by guided tour only from the Brú na Bóinne Visitor Center. Tours take place daily, except for a few days around Christmas. Purchase tickets for the burial mound and the visitor center or just the center.
To reach Newgrange, drive for about 1.2 miles (2 kilometers) west of Donore village. There is no public transportation access to the site, but it’s free to leave your car in the parking lot.