Bru na Boinne - Newgrange & Dowth

Venue: Bru na Boinne, Donore, Co. Meath - Newgrange

Do visit their website before organising your visit as this is a very busy and popular site and tickets usually need to be pre-booked. Bru na Boinne - managed by OPW

All admission to Newgrange and Knowth is through the Visitor Centre, there is no direct access to these monuments. Visitors are brought from the Visitor Centre to the monuments by shuttle bus.

There is a large car park with picnic area, short walk to the centre where the main facilities are reservations desks, toilets, gift shop and restaurant.

Brú na Bóinne Visitor Centre interprets the Neolithic monuments of Newgrange, Knowth and Dowth. The extensive exhibition includes a full scale replica of the chamber at Newgrange as well as a full model of one of the smaller tombs at Knowth. These have been recently refurbished and opened to the public 12th December 2019 - Bru na Boinne Visitor Experience

Images of Newgrange through the ages can be found at the Irish Archaeology website. Click the link below for some drawings and pictures of how it once appeared:

The Neolithic passage tomb at Newgrange is the most visited archaeological site in Ireland. However it has not always looked so pristine.


The sources of the rocks for Newgrange are surprising. Bright white quartz cobbles from the Wicklow Mountains - 50 miles / 80 kilometres away. When two of these crystals are rubbed together they produce a spark. Is it fanciful to suggest that this property might have been used in some way to light the inner chamber? Dark speckled granodiorite cobbles from the Mourne Mountains in Northern Ireland, and dark gabbro cobbles from the Cooley Mountains, north of the Mournes. Greywacke from Clogherhead in County Louth forms the inner passageway and outer kerb stones. The interior of the huge mound was built up from local gravel from the banks of the Boyne River.

Rocks of Newgrange written by Courtney van Stolk

Venue: Dowth, Co. Meath, Ireland

Dowth mound stands in a large field, sharing the space with grazing sheep. On the northern bank of the river Boyne, it is signposted from the Slane to Drogheda road. Drive directly to the site and park on the roadside. There are no facilities, such as toilets and gift shop, at the site, but there is a comprehensive information board. Entrance is through a metal squeeze gateway.

The large mound is about the same size as Newgrange and Knowth, raised between approximately 3200 and 2000 BC, making it the third presently visible on this ridge.

In 1930's British Israelites searching for the Ark of the Covenant used dynamite at the top of the mound.

There are two chambers, referred to as Dowth North and Dowth South, and a souterrain (constructed around the 10th or 11th century). There is usually no public access to the chambers of the mound. North is said to be aligned to Samhain and the South to Winter Solstice. This was restored in 1962 and 1975.

In July 2018, another passage tomb in the grounds of nearby Dowth Hall was excavated, revealing significant examples of Neolithic rock art similar to those at Dowth and the other Brú na Bóinne sites.

1. Ulster Cycle, Cuchulainn come to Dowth and fights a giant, one of three brothers - into the river.

2. Dubad, which means 'Darkness'. Brú of the Druid Bresal, build a great tower reach heavens. All men of Ireland build the tower in a single day, his sister casts enchantment, sun will not set until tower complete. Brother is overcome with lust and commits incest, breaking the enchantment and causing the sun to set before the tower is built. 'Night has come upon us', laments his sister, 'and Dubad shall be the name of this place forever'.

Dowth (Dubthach or darkhouse) is the place of death, the setting winter solstice sun shining into the chamber of Dowth South every year. It is a masterpiece that complements the dawn sunrise in Newgrange eight hours previously.