Posted in Around Ireland on October 17, 2019.
Having previously covered James Joyce and Trinity College on this blog, today we’re looking at something much, much older: Newgrange (or in Irish: Brú na Bóinne)!
Newgrange is a world-famous prehistoric monument in County Meath, just north of Dublin. It’s one of the best examples of a passage-grave in Western Europe. It was built around 3200 BC – making it at least 600 years older than the Giza Pyramids in Egypt and 1000 years older Stonehenge. It has around 200,000 visitors a year, making it Ireland’s most popular archaeological site. It is estimated it took 300 people 30 years to make.
The old Irish word for womb is Brú and so, Brú na Bóinne may mean “Womb of the Moon.” The layout of the grave in many ways resembles the female reproductive organs. Bizarre, but true. However, the most special thing about this ancient site happens most years on the Winter Solstice. Usually, the sun rises on this day and lights down the main chamber perfectly – showing that the site is an ancient timekeeping piece of architecture. This was rediscovered as a feature of the site in 1967. Nowadays, people are picked by a lottery to get to be there on this special day: https://www.newgrange.com/solstice-lottery.htm
More ancient sites are being found in Ireland all the time – the most recent being one that happened over summer due to the hot weather revealing another monument at Newgrange: https://globalnews.ca/news/4329755/henge-crop-circle-monument-ireland-farmer-field/
If you’re interested in more about Ireland in the past, we have many designs exploring this theme: Newgrange, Ogham writing and the Celts. Carol is also always interested in discussing making custom pieces if you have a particular idea in mind.