Newgrange Tri-Spiral

Newgrange Tri-Sprial
Newgrange Tri-Spiral - Iconic symbol of Irish Stone Age Art

The renowned Tri-Spiral motif meticulously engraved on a stone within the back recess of Newgrange's chamber stands out as one of the most iconic symbols in Irish Megalithic art. Frequently misattributed to Celtic origins, this intricate design predates the arrival of the Celts in Ireland by 2,500 years.

At 12 inches (30cm) in diameter the triple spiral design is relatively small in size, less than one-third the size of the triple spiral design on the adorning the entrance stone.

Prof. Michael J. O’Kelly who excavated and restored Newgrange between 1962 and 1975, referred to the design as a Three-Spiral symbol. In his book Newgrange - Archaeology, Art and Legend, he states that there was a belief in the neighbourhood that the rising sun, used to light up the three-spiral stone in the end recess of the chamber. Since Newgrange faces southeast, Prof. O'Kelly decided to investigate the Winter Solstice sunrise.

Newgrange Interior
Newgrange Chamber showing the famous Tri-Spiral engraving.

The tri-spiral symbol inside Newgrange is a mesmerizing and ancient motif characterized by three interconnected spirals. This symbolic design, etched onto one of the stones in the chamber within Newgrange, exhibits a harmonious and repetitive pattern that has intrigued archaeologists and historians.

The spirals, intertwined in a triskelion formation, evoke a sense of balance, continuity, and perhaps a connection to celestial or spiritual concepts. The precise meaning of this symbol remains a subject of interpretation and fascination, offering a glimpse into the rich symbolism and beliefs of the ancient people who created it.

Sheep at Newgrange
Sheep grazing at Newgrange, with the distinctive white quartz exterior in view.

Newgrange - Aerial View
Newgrange aerial view - Photo by National Monuments Service Photographic Unit.

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