Newgrange Mound: Ireland’s Most Famous Prehistoric Site

After picking up Stephen and Joel at the Dublin Airport around 8:40 am, we headed off to our first destination: a UNESCO World Heritage Site built about 5,000 years ago (500 years before the Great Pyramid!) called “Newgrange Mound.”

For the first several thousand years after it was built, no one knew it existed because it just looked like a hill where cows and sheep grazed!

In fact, here is another picture I took…just to show you that there are still lots of cows grazing close by, although not on top of Newgrange Mound since the 1800’s.

Today the mound has been carefully studied and is protected. Our GPS brought us to the entrance, but we couldn’t get in! We had to find our way miles back and around to the “ticket” center, wait for a bus and take a 90-minute tour to see this fascinating structure. It was worth it! The mound covers an acre, has a 250-foot diameter, is 40 feet high, and was made out of 547 slabs of slate, sandstone, pebbles and dirt, for a grand total of about 200,000 tons of weigh (i.e. 4 million pounds)! How in the world did they do that??No one knows the purpose for the mound, although there is a 60-foot passage leading to the center that is perfectly aligned with a “window” above, so that on sunrise during Dec. 21-25 (the winter solstice), the lights from the door and window meet in the center of the tomb and light up the interior. Some 100,000 people apply each year to be part of the select few who are allowed to come and experience this incredible “sunrise” in the tomb around Christmas. Whatever the significance, it clearly demonstrates the scientific and architectural brilliance of these ancient “cave men” who had not yet even developed metallurgy or wheels.Another ingenious thing about Newgrange is the artwork. Their chief decoration was a pattern of three interconnected circles, and some scientists have wondered if it was a religious symbol depicting eternal life. As a trinitarian Christian, I really liked that thought, and it made me think of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit—three-in-One—the essence of Eternal Life. I could also picture these prehistoric people having some concept of the promise of resurrection life. I do not know if Christ was really born on December 25th, but I love the thought that Christ, whose birthday we celebrate on the winter solstice, came to bring resurrection life to all who believe in him. Could these Neolithic age people have been waiting for the resurrection from the dead? Happy thought.

Well, despite the fact that the Hawthorns were starting to bloom on this late April morning…

and spring flowers were dotting the hillsidesthe wind was sharp, and we developed quite an appetite for a good lunch!We discovered that although prices are relatively high in the British Isles, the food is much better than reputed, and when we ordered our entree, we were delighted to discover that we were treated to several salads as well (which we found to be true more often that not in our travels). Thus fortified, we were ready to head out for our next adventure, feeling quite sure that this was going to be a marvelous experience! 🙂

“For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made…” Romans 1:19-20 (ESV)

2 thoughts on “Newgrange Mound: Ireland’s Most Famous Prehistoric Site

  1. Thank you for the lovely pictures of Ireland!
    What amazes me is, that there are hundreds of mounds that look similar to this one in South Korea, only here they don’t have an entrance and are burial places for kings and Queens.

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