Newgrange Ireland

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A decorated stone at Knowth
A decorated stone at Knowth.

An Irishman's Diary

Long before Santa Claus was ever heard of the people of Ireland frolicked, fought, laughed, cried and lived and died in the clearings and forests of Ireland. They lived their simple lives in a land that gave then a good living, and when their time came, they were buried.

This weekend, the archaeologist and writer, Martin Brennan, goes to Meath to one of their better-known burial grounds and will try to prove that, as well as the rays entering the famous Newgrange mound at sun-up, it also enters the Dowth mound at sundown. The Dowth mound is about a mile from Newgrange, and Martin reckons there is a definite link between the two.

The winter solstice at Newgrange takes place in December 21st at dawn, but Martin will try to prove this weekend that across the fields at Dowth the same thing will happen at sunset. He told me yesterday that he wasn't 100% sure "but I'm 95% sure it will happen. I'm going down the week-end to prove my point. The solstice takes place a few days before and after December 21st and I want to be there before-hand to prove my point."

Martin says that he realised there could be a sunset solstice at Dowth about three weeks ago." I asked the Board of Works to cut a hedge down so the sun's rays could enter and I'll get there at the weekend. If there is a solstice, it will be a very significant find. I have suspected it for some time but now I'm almost certain about it I think the two mounds were aligned"

Martin reckons the mounds were part of a highly sophisticated astronomical scheme rather than simply burial grounds. He will be keeping an eye on development right up to solstice time and will keep us posted.

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Boyne Valley Private Day Tours

Boyne Valley Tours Pick up and return to your accommodation or cruise ship. Suggested day tour: Newgrange World Heritage site, 10th century High Crosses at Monasterboice, Hill of Tara the seat of the High Kings of Ireland and the Hill of Slane where St. Patrick let a Paschal fire in 433  More ...