Newgrange and the Hill of Tara

I had been dying to go to Ireland for years.  I actually studied Celtic Studies at UofT because I was so interested in Celtic mythology. And so pretty well since I was a kid I wanted to go to the Hill of Tara and be stolen by faeries.  It didn’t quite turn out that way when I visited, but it was still amazing.

However, it made more sense to go to Newgrange first, so off to Newgrange I went. Newgrange is part of a huge neolithic necropolis built in the Boyne valley, and is one of the finest passage tombs in Ireland (and maybe even the world). It was built 5000 years ago, making it older than Stonehenge and the Pryamid of Giza.

Though it was the final resting place of a high-status family (the cremated remains of at least 5 people were recovered from the burial chambers), the tomb was built with a very specific purpose.

See the box above my head in the picture below? On the winter solstice, the rising sun will enter the roof box and light up the burial chamber and rest of the passage.  Each year 100 people are choosen by lottery out of 1000s to witness this event (20 people each day for 5 days around the solstice). Wouldn’t that be something to see!

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The view from Newgrange is pretty great too. Lots of green fields.

From Newgrange, we moved on to the Hill of Tara, which was the coronation site for the high-kings of Ireland. As a bonus you are able to see 25% of Ireland on a clear day. It was a but cloudy when I went, but honestly, it was still a dream come true.

Unfortunately (though of no surprise) I fell down one of the mounds on the hill and broke my camera.  I bought a new one the next day – I needed it just in case I came across anything brilliant – but I didn’t let it spoil my day.