The Newgrange Visitor Center in Co. Meath, refurbished after a 6-month do-over, was officially opened in December 2019.
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It now provides a more immersive experience for tourists eager to know more about how the Neolithic passage tomb at Newgrange was constructed around 3,200 B.C.
The Newgrange Visitor Center is located on the Brú na Bóinne (meaning the “Palace of the Boyne”) World Heritage Site.
It includes not only Newgrange but also Knowth, containing the largest collection of megalithic art in Europe, as well as Dowth.
All three sites have impressive Neolithic passage tombs.
The refurbished €4.5 million center focuses, in particular, on the way the Newgrange burial chamber aligns with the rising sun each year during the Winter Solstice on Dec. 21.
The results of the research done in 2018 by the National Monuments Service is also highlighted.
Crop marks in the parched fields of the River Boyne floodplain were discovered by two drone pilots, also local historians, during the summer drought of 2018.
It revealed a circular henge in a field next to the Newgrange tomb, suggesting some sort of ritual location.
According to an archaeological report released by the Irish government, it is believed that prehistoric monuments may be in the subsurface of the henge.
Newgrange and the surrounding prehistoric monuments are considered older than Stonehenge, by 100 years, and also older than the pyramids in Egypt.
Results from excavations in 2015 revealed a large buried structure with several parallel rows of large pits.
All of this fascinating information is available at the new visitor center.
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Annual Winter Solstice at Newgrange
Newgrange, which is about 40 kilometers (25 miles) from Dublin, is a popular place throughout the year, but the Winter Solstice attracts even more people to the historic site.
People gather at dawn (8:58 a.m.) from Dec. 18 through Dec. 23.
Access to the chamber is decided by a lottery system conducted in September of each year. Approximately 60 people are chosen.
Those lucky enough to get close to the chamber will witness a beam of light that penetrates the roof-box and travels up the passage and into the chamber.
As the sun rises higher, the whole chamber is illuminated.