Skip to main content
Updated date:

Ireland's Prehistoric Newgrange Monument

The Builders of Newgrange

The Builders of Newgrange

First People, Newgrange

First People, Newgrange

Newgrange, Ireland

Newgrange, Ireland

Brief Timeline of Early Ireland

Early Timeline of Ireland

  • 7000 B.C. First inhabitants arrive in Ireland
  • 3000 B.C. Newgrange built
  • 700 B.C. Celtics arrive in Ireland
  • 795. Vikings arrive, defeated in 1014
  • 1166 Norman invasion
  • 1649 Oliver Cromwell invades Ireland
  • 1699 Newgrange discovered
  • 1962 Newgrange excavated, lasts to 1973

Ireland's Most Famous Prehistoric Monument

There are so many monuments and places of interest in the Emerald Isle.

The history of Ireland holds many mysteries, some mythical, some legend, and some forgotten. Newgrange is the most famous of its many prehistoric monuments. It was constructed about 3200 B.C. by stone-age farmers and astronomers who arrived about 8000 years ago. It is an exceptional remnant of the best examples of a passage-grave tomb. It is located approximately 26 miles from Dublin in the Boyne Valley, in Drogheda. It is 500 years older than the Giza Pyramid and Stonehenge.

Newgrange measures 279 feet in diameter, 43 feet high, sitting on an acre. It is estimated to have taken over thirty years to complete using 200,000 tons of material and using only stone-age tools and no metal.

Irish legend has it to have been built by the Tuatha De' Danann, who ruled Ireland at the time for the burial of their chief Daga Mor' and his three sons.

Within the monument is the world's oldest solar observatory for the winter solstice, when the sun will light the interior of the tomb. Each year in September, a lottery is held for names drawn to attend a specific morning of the solstice. Each winner is allowed one guest only. In 2019, 30,500 entries were submitted for this extraordinary event. In 1993, Newgrange was designated by the World Heritage Site (UNESCO). Each year, some 300,000 visitors tour the site.

One cannot go directly to the monument, It is essential to pre-book tickets at the Visitors Centre. See for guided tour information.

Solstice Application for Newgrange

Solstice Application for Newgrange

Entrance to Newgrange

Entrance to Newgrange

Carvings at Newgrange Entrance

Carvings at Newgrange Entrance

Discovery of Newgrange

After being built around 3200 B.C., the monument was forgotten until 1699, when it was rediscovered, almost accidentally by a landowner. Then, it was not until the 1960s when excavation was started.

By sheer chance, Newgrange was discovered in 1699 by landowner Charles Campbell who needed stones for his property and had his laborers take them from the mound for his personal use. It was then that the entrance was uncovered. The monument had been forgotten about for thousands of years until Campbell found the entrance to the tomb.

The stones used to build the monument were taken from the Wicklow Mountains some seventy miles away. They were transported via the River Shannon and hauled to the site. Laborers and ingenuity were utilized to move thousands of stones.

It would not be excavated until 1962 and lasting until 1973 before completely recorded. There were Roman coins discovered in almost total pristine condition. There are no written records of Ireland before 400 A.D. The markings found on the stones and monuments show the triple spiral, three-leafed shamrock, and the trinity knot and are known to Ireland.

With so many historical sites to visit in Ireland, a trip to Blarney Castle (built in1446) in Monacnapa, Blarney County, Cork, it would be worth it to Kiss the Blarney Stone. Blarney Castle is three hours from Dublin, and if you get to kiss the stone, you may be gifted with eloquence and persuasiveness. There is a climb o the top of the castle, and one must kiss the stone upside down. Guides are there to assist you, and precautions are in place to avoid falling.

Blarney Stone

Blarney Stone

Blarney Castle

Blarney Castle

Wicklow Mountains

Wicklow Mountains

Prehistoric Sites in Ireland

A few other ancient monuments and many historical sites are located throughout Ireland.

Poulnabrone Portal Tomb

Ardgroom Stone Circle

Drombeg Stone Circle

Castlestronges Stone

Sources Used



fran rooks (author) from Toledo, Ohio on September 01, 2020:

Linda, thanks for reading. There are so many places to visit in Ireland with a fascinating history all around. Hope you do get to visit one day.

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on August 31, 2020:

Thanks for sharing the facts about Newgrange, Fran. I would love to visit the monument one day. It sounds like a fascinating place to explore.

fran rooks (author) from Toledo, Ohio on August 31, 2020:

Wim Den Haese, thanks for reading. Glad you were one of the visitors. I just couldn't help myself adding that fact about the Blarney Stone. I wish I could visit Ireland, home of my ancestors.

Wim Den Haese on August 31, 2020:

The Newgrange monument is fantastic, we visited it last year.

But I don't understand why you end your article with a reference to the Blarney Stone, which is in a completely different place in Ireland and frankly a tourist trap.

fran rooks (author) from Toledo, Ohio on August 31, 2020:

Thanks for reading and your comment

CJ Kelly from the PNW on August 31, 2020:

Great hub. Let's face it, the Irish Rock :) The lead archeologist's name? O'Kelly.

fran rooks (author) from Toledo, Ohio on August 31, 2020:

Thanks to everyone for reading. I appreciate your visits.

fran rooks (author) from Toledo, Ohio on August 31, 2020:

Thank you for your visit. I do appreciate it.

Rosina S Khan on August 31, 2020:

It was nice knowing about Ireland's Prehistoric Newgrange Monument. I read it with interest. Thanks for sharing, Fran.

Readmikenow on August 31, 2020:

Good article, I enjoyed reading it.

Liz Westwood from UK on August 31, 2020:

This is a well-illustrated and interesting article. It's amazing how far back we can research.

Related Articles