Newgrange – Dowth, Ireland - Atlas Obscura


Dowth, Ireland

The ancient tomb acts as a calendar that keeps perfect time. 


Newgrange is one of a number of ancient tombs in the Boyne Valley in the Irish county of Meath, north of Dublin. Built circa 3200 B.C., during the Neolithic era, it far predates Stonehenge and the Pyramids of Giza. A passage tomb, Newgrange was built with astronomical alignment. On the morning of the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year, the central chamber is briefly illuminated by the rising sun’s rays coming through the passage.

The surrounding area of this and other tombs is open to the public, and entry to the tomb is done with guided tours. On the morning of the Winter Solstice, there is a lottery to determine who can go and watch the event. The annual ticket lottery in 2007 had over 28,000 applications.

Know Before You Go

Access to Newgrange is only via the visitor center on the other side of the river, ensure you head there rather than to Newgrange itself.

The visitor center is undergoing a major renovation and is closed until December 2019, only issuing tickets and toilet access. During this period, entry is free.

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