The origins of Newgrange, one of the significant passage graves in Europe, are clouded in mystery. Based on the Celtic legend, the legendary kings of Tara have been buried right here, however Newgrange predates them. The grave was left untouched by all invaders besides the Danish, who raided its burial chambers in the 9th century. In 1699, it was rediscovered by a landowner, Charles Campbell Scott.
A site of legendary significance, Tara was the political and religious heart of Celtic Ireland and the seat of the High Kings till the eleventh century. Whoever dominated Tara could declare supremacy over the nation. It’s thought that lots of Tara’s kings have been buried in pagan ceremonies at Newgrange. Tara’s significance as a religious center diminished as Christianity flourished.
Newgrange was designed by individuals with distinctive creative and engineering expertise. Without using the wheel or metallic instruments, they transported about 200,000 tons of loose stones to construct the mound, or cairn, that protects the passage grave. Bigger slabs have been used to make the circle across the cairn, the curb, and the tomb itself. Most of the curbstones and the slabs are adorned with zigzags, spirals, and different motifs.
WINTER SOLSTICE AT NEWGRANGE
The shortest day and the longest night happens each year on December 21 (winter solstice). At Newgrange, on the morning of December 21, sunlight enter the tomb and light up the passage, illuminating the north recess of the cruciform burial chamber. That makes it the world’s oldest solar observatory. Every other day of the year, the tomb is shrouded in darkness. Newgrange is the one passage grave excavated at the moment that has this attribute – temples are usually the standard places for this sort of occasions. Many consider that due to this, Newgrange was initially used as a spot of worship, and later became a burial ground for pagan kings.
DOWTH AND KNOWTH
In Boyne Valley, the “cradle of Irish civilization,” there are also two other prehistoric burial sites, Dowth and Knowth.