Brú na bóinne

After a short break to think about the history of chocolate, I am again musing about the Rock Star Tour of Western Ireland.  If fact, this week I will be meeting my Captain, Niamh, to finalize the itinerary for Study Abroad Ireland 2014.

Newgrange View from Newgrange

The next stop on the Rock Star tour was the archaeological site of Newgrange, called  Brú na bóinne in Irish.  Newgrange is pre-Celtic passage grave (tomb) which part of a group of three monuments (Knowth and Dowth) along the River Boyne.  The site is dates to approximately 3200 BC.  It is older than Stonehenge in England and the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt.  Archaeologists classified Newgrange as a passage tomb, but more aptly it is a temple, a place of ceremonial importance.1

Newgrange Newgrange wall

Newgrange spans aproximately 1 acre and has a base constructed of 97 kerbstones, decorated with megalithic art.  The reconstructed facade of flattish white quartz stones is studded at intervals with large rounded cobbles.

passage drawing

newgrange-ab1-2004 newgrange-ab2-2004

The inner passage is 19 meters long and leads to a cruciform chamber with a corbelled roof.   At the end of the passage are three small chambers off a larger central chamber.2  At winter solstice the passage is illuminated by the sun streaming through the window, called a roof-box, above the entranceway.


Newgrange passage entrance Newgrange triple spiral

A motif consisting of three interlocked spirals, called a triskele, is carved into the rock near the main entrance of Newgrange.    The triskele has also come to be associated with the Triple Goddess going back to pre-Christian times. The Triple Goddess symbolism, maiden-mother-crone, is also represented as a moon in three phases.  Because the triskele is often drawn using one continuous line, it has come to represent the unending and continuous movement of life.3

Of course this activity was right up my alley.  Pre-Celtic archaeological passage tomb-summer solstice ceremonial celebrations- megalithic art – oh yeah!  The Gypsy Archaeologist was in her glory here.  I can’t wait to return with students to get another look at Newgrange.  I also want to see at least one of the other 2 passage tombs as well.





2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: On the Road Again… | The Random Musings of a Gypsy Archaeologist...
  2. Trackback: Bundoran at Last! | The Random Musings of a Gypsy Archaeologist...

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Chair of Social Science, Humanities,
& Foreign Languages

Liberal Arts & University Transfer
Craven Community College

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