Newgrange and the Religion of the Past

Certainly one of the most spectacular sites in all of Ireland, in terms of ancient history are the various mounds, and tombs you can find in the Boyne valley. Here’s a little map…
ng This is a World Heritage Site, and well worth the visit. It’s stone circle and passage tomb may date as far back as 5,000 years, making it older than the pyramids and stonehenge. The Irish have done an excellent job of preserving the site, and the visitor centre is top drawer.

This mound is 93 yards in diameter, and 15 yards high. It’s like a low lying ancient domed stadium. ng1 The passage leading into the center of the chamber is 19 yards long, and there are stones carefully stacked to form walls and ceilings along the way. The entrance way is aligned so that the sun will enter directly into the center of the chamber on the winter solstice– Dec.21. Here is the entrance itself. ng8

ng3 There are some 97 stones, called kerb stones, surrounding the mound, and there are other smaller circles…
ng4 You will notice the decoration on the lintel stone above the entrance way. We must bear in mind that the ancients were considerably shorter than human beings tend to be today. ng6ng7
Since photography is forbidden in the passage tomb itself, there is a recreation of it in the visitor’s centre. Here is some of that. ng9ng10ng12 You will notice that the swirl patterns on the stones outside are also found on the stones inside. Located on the top of a knoll, and not far from the river, one can imagine various sun, moon, stars, water rituals and rites of passage. ng13 But the giant mound itself, the construction of which was no small feat, is worth the trip, all by itself. The ancients, were not as primitive or as barbaric and some moderns think. And they were also very religious, in their own ways. In order to ease the pain of not being able to take away your own piece of history from this place, the gift shop provides the consolation prizes….

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