|Next stop was Newgrange. It a burial tomb 5000 years old. It is older then the pyramids in Egypt! There are 3 main burial mounds located in the area; Newgrange, Knowth and Dowth. You can't go inside Dowth right now as it is being excavated. Our tour only went to Newgrange.
We hung out at the visitors center for a bit before we caught our other bus to Newgrange. The center was full of really neat interesting facts about how the people lived back then and some ideas on why they built these tombs.
We gout out to Newgrange where a tour guide met us and explained some of the history behind the tomb. There is a large enterance stone which back in the day you would have had to climb over to get into the tomb but for tourist reasons they built stairs around to get in the enterance. There are 3 swirls carved in the stone and there are many different theories as to what these swirls mean. It was really interesting.
It took over 50 years to build the tomb as they had to carry all the large stones by hand from locations all over Ireland. The tomb is so uniquely built inside with the rocks overlapping eachother and almost spiraling up to the top getting smaller until one large stone covers the top. They used smaller rocks to ease some of the pressure and to make a water tight seal. In 5000 years the roof has never leaked!
The tomb is considered extremely spiritual as once a year every year on the shortest day of the year (December 21st) the tomb is completely lit up from the ray of sunshine. The enterance to the tomb and the angle at which they built the tomb allows the sunlight to shine directly into the back of the tomb for approximately 17 minutes.
They do a lottery system to draw 50 names in october to decide who will be able to be in the tomb during this one special day. You're very lucky if you can be there to experience and if you are lucky enough to have sun that morning.
It was one of the coolest places I have ever been. We weren't allowed to take pictures inside the tomb but some of the stones had some interesting carvings on them. There was a stone basin in one of the chambers made from granite that is 5000 years old. Amazing.
In the Victorian era the tomb was left open after it was first discovered and many people came in and carved their names in to the walls. It's too bad for that but it also makes it interesting. The entryway into the chambers is very tight and narrow and very short. Even I had to duck most of the time.
If you ever make it over here it is one place I definetly recommend checking out.