As you wait in the darkness of Newgrange passage tomb, on the same spot where an ancient people stood more than 5,000 years ago, the first rays of the winter solstice sun glide in to light up the ancient burial chamber. 

We don’t know the beliefs of the prehistoric people who created the extraordinary landscape of ritual sites known as Brú na Bóinne, but they expressed them in an ingenious manner and on an enormous scale by merging awe inspiring feats of engineering together with architecture, artistry and astronomy into a complex  set of monuments.  Newgrange, or Brú na Bóinne is now a World Heritage Site that lies in the fertile Boyne River Valley.

Newgrange’s huge round white stone walls, with a grassy dome almost seem futuristic despite the fact that it was built in the same era as Khufu’s great Pyramid at Giza. Only a lucky few get to experience the winter solstice sun slipping through the ingeniously aligned roof box over the entrance but an electrically powered simulation recreates the moment on a guided tour. Did the ancients believe that the sun reinvigorated the spirits of the upper echelon that are buried here?

Discover the story of Brú na Bóinne

Even more dazzling is the unparalleled amount of prehistoric art carved in the stones – some say the circular and serpentine patterns represent local maps. In the passage of time later people came to add standing stones and subterranean tunnels, and even into medieval times layer after layer of new meanings were added. As sure as the sun rises, sets and rises again and again people will be visiting Brú Na Bóinne and will continue to be captivated and fascinated for generations to come.

Newgrange is a large kidney shaped mound covering an area of over one acre, retained at the base by 97 kerbstones, some of which are richly decorated with megalithic art. The 22yard long inner passage leads to a cruciform chamber with a corbelled roof. The amount of time and labour expended in the construction of Newgrange suggests that there was a well-organized society with specialised groups responsible for different elements of construction. The mound is 93 yards in diameter and 15 yards high.  A passage measuring 21 yards leads into a chamber with 3 alcoves. The passage and chamber align with the rising sun at the Winter Solstice. Newgrange is surrounded by 97 large stones called kerbstones some of which are engraved with megalithic art, the most striking being the large entrance stone. Scattered around these monuments are large stones inscribed with neolithic patterns, mystical swirls carved out thousands of years ago.

Archaeologists categorised Newgrange as a passage tomb, however Newgrange is now recognised to be far more than a passage tomb. “Ancient Temple” is a more fitting category for a site that is a place of astrological, spiritual, religious and ceremonial importance, much as present day Cathedrals are places of prestige and worship where religious dignitaries may be laid to rest. 

Loughcrew Cairns

Only 35 miles from Newgrange you will find The Loughcrew Cairns which are, arguably, one the best kept secret in Archaeological Ireland and are in a landscape of inspiring beauty and intriguing history, the cairns at Loughcrew form the largest complex of passage graves in Ireland, much older than the better known Newgrange and much less crowded.

The Cairns are megalithic structures consisting of about 15 cairns, including Cairn L which is roofed and contains superb symbolic carvings which are in good condition. This group is about one and a half mile walk from the Car Park on gently inclining ground. Carnbane East includes Cairn T, also roofed and with excellent engravings and is a shorter but a somewhat steeper walk.

Since 2014 there is a Loughcrew Equinox Festival each March 19th to 21st and September 19th to 21st organised by Oldcastle Tourism Group.  Bringing together the archaeological and astronomical history of the cairns as well as the spiritual energy of modern day Druids and healers it is a wonderful opportunity to experience the magic of the Cairn throughout the Equinox mornings and days. 

"My husband and I spent only a little over 24 hours in Galway. Jim who drove us through some of the most amazing landscapes we've ever seen. He was happy to stop whenever we wanted to take it in, and took some great photos for us as well. I would definitely recommend Jim."

Amy, Florida, USA

 

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Satisfying the customer 

Over the years we have had several compliments on our drivers from many of our satisfied customers. Click on the link to "Tripadvisor" below to read, in full, the reviews of some of our many happy customers.

"Once you experience a private guided tour, you will never consider a coach tour again! Jim is personable, knowledgeable, and an excellent driver. After 7 days in Ireland, I can say my favorite memories are those spent on our private tour. Best money spent was with Ireland West Tours."

Miss Wanderlust, South Carolina, USA

 

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IRELAND WEST TOURS

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