Newgrange 09.08.2016


Image for Newgrange

One can find buildings like Stonehenge not only in England, but also in Ireland. Though not as famous as Stonehenge. One of the most notable buildings in Ireland in Newgrange. Though let's start from the beginning. There is no way to visit it directly all by your own. You have to leave a car at special parking place and go to visitor centre. Even a trail to visitor centre already looks interesting.

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Photo 877

It's better to arrive a bit earlier in the morning here, otherwise you can end up in a big line and loose a couple of hours awaiting your visiting time window. There is a bus from visitor centre to Newgrange itself. Thus places are limited and you have to wait a bit. So the first who arrived is the first to ride. There are over 150 thousand people who come here every year. Though it looks like it's the limit this place can serve.

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Photo 878

Once I managed to buy a bus ticket and finally get to Newgrange I could see it with my eyes. It was build more than 5000 years ago which makes Newgrange older than Stonehenge. Moreover it was untouched by humans most of the time therefore it's in quite good state. Just the white wall outside was built just in 1970s which cause a hot discussions among archaeologists, as there is no information whether it looks this way before or not.

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Photo 879

One can find quite a number of artefacts around. Most of them look like part of cemetery or something connected to death.

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Photo 880

Then around are just fields. By the way till XVIII century nobody knew about Newgrange. In 1699 the owner of the land Charles Cambell ordered an excavation of the strange hill and they found out Newgrange. It was quickly figured out that it's something ancient and they started to study it. There is a built cave inside the hill. Two human corpses remains were discovered inside. The main theories about purpose of the monument are built around this corpses.

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Photo 881

Almost from the moment of discovery in 1699 the monument was open for public. Though in the beginning it was not treated well enough and you can find a lot of scratches and marks on the stones inside like "John was here" from around 18xx years. In 1960s the most exhaustive excavations took place. Professor Michael O'Kelly during it noticed the most interesting thing about it: during winter Solstice the first sunlight on sunrise comes through the special hole inside the cave and lights it up. Nowadays it's not the first sunlight which enters the cave on the sunrise, though 5000 years ago it was exactly the first one. The knowledge of astronomy and the preciseness of calculations for that age really impresses.

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Photo 882

It's possible to go inside the cave with a guide. Though it's really narrow inside. 20-25 persons is maximum which can fit inside. That's why it's almost impossible to serve greater amount of tourists than they have nowadays. In 1950s they installed electricity inside. So today it's possible to see the first sunlight emulation from the inside. The general light is switched off and special lamp emulates the first sunlight how it looks during Solstice. Looks beautiful.

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Photo 883

If one really want to see the real sunlight, then it's possible to try a yearly lottery, where it's possible to win a permission to visit Newgrange during Winter Solstice. Though one should also take in account that the impression can be spoiled by unlucky (e.g. rainy) weather. Also the chance to win is not really high: in 2005 only 50 people won out of 27000. Though still worth to try, huh?

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Photo 884


 
 
 
 

Points of interest and source links