You cannot go to Dublin and not take a train up to Drogheda and then shuttle bus to Newgrange to see a place that is older than the pyramids and older than Stonehenge. The area next to the River Boyne is beautiful and it is easy to see why people from the neolythic period settled there. From the train station we walked a few blocks to a bus station and had lunch in town before finding out we had missed the last free shuttle of the day. We easily got a cab right out and back later. We enjoyed both our drivers and the whole adventure is very much worth a day trip. You can see the countryside on the train and enjoy lunch in Drogheda and a conversation with very knowledgable and freindly taxi drivers (if you miss the shuttle.)
Newgrange is one of the must do daytrips from Dublin.
It's one of the oldest passage graves in Europe and still in remarkable condition. You can go inside the tomb, as well as tour the heritage centre.
Newgrange is an impressive Neolithic (+- 3500 BC) megalithic building on a natural hill in the bend of the river Boyne. It is only approachable via the visitor's centre (Brú na Boinne), from where you are taken to the monument(s) by small buses. At the centre is a well-made exhibition explaining Newgrange's history and construction, with various interpretations as to its function in prehistoric society. You can go and visit Newgrange on its own, but to visit Knowth (another megalithic monument, much more complex but sadly inaccessible...) as well and realizing Dowth and many other small tombs, wooden circles and earthenworks make up for a vast ritualistic landscape in the riverbend is positively mind-blowing. It's a shame there aren't any helicopter rides available over the area, that would be so wonderful...
But anyway, Newgrange IS accessible and to enter the tomb, with all its beautiful rock-art (and even 18th-century-graffiti!) and to see the construction of the tomb itself from the inside is truly worthwhile, even if it's a bit crowded inside, especially in high season... I also think the time allowed inside is much too short. There is a simulation of the sun shining inside the tomb at the winter solstice (the tomb goes utterly completely dark by the way... impressive...) but after that your group will be shooed out because the next one is waiting. I feel there is no time to check out the beautiful carvings inside, and you trip over the people you're with. But not to go in would be a great loss! Every year a select group of people gets picked out of a lottery to witness the actual winter solstice... but every year about 20,000 people apply, so the chances are limited! If you have any interest in history or archaeolgy, you cannot afford to miss Newgrange!
We went as a family a few years ago and it was amazing, but for some silly and charming reasons. For example, the top of this ancient building is covered in grass and strikes me as telly tubby land - and I was an adult in our group! It is a fascinating building inside and I think it can be enjoyed by many age groups who can take it at face value or read a bit more about it. Although small, it has the ambience of somewhere very special, like a cathedral. The kids enjoyed the outing and were not too tiresome about it.
I grew up quite close to Newgrange so I've been in it more times that I care to remember and it still stuns me to silence when I go inside! My Dad actually worked on the excavations of it back in the 60's! It's such a magical experince and one that I'd highly recommend to anyone visiting the area - I challenge you not to come away impressed.
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