Visitors to Europe are accustomed to having an ancient site or two on their must-see list, whether to simply say they’ve seen it or to pause and reflect on the time that has passed between when the structure was built and now. Trips to Italy typically include sites from Ancient Rome such as Pompeii and the Colosseum, and people traveling through England go out of their way to make a stop at Stonehenge.
If ancient sites are interesting to you, however, then don’t miss a visit to Newgrange when you’re visiting Dublin. Never heard of Newgrange? That’s why it made this list of lesser known prehistoric sights!
Newgrange is part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and described as a “prehistoric monument” – but to most people it probably looks like a mound of earth circled simply by a rock wall. The truth is that little is known about Newgrange, why it was built or what it was used for, but the opening in the structure is perfectly aligned with the sun at sunrise on the winter solstice. The other attractions in the BrÃº na BÃ³inne UNESCO site are Knowth and Dowth, two more earthen mounds, as well as some standing stones.
Unlike some of the prehistoric sites listed in this article, Newgrange isn’t so far off the path that you’d need to go out of your way to reach it or extend your holiday by days. It’s not far from Dublin, so makes an easy day trip from the Irish capital. In fact, since you can’t visit Newgrange without a guided tour (they leave from the BrÃº na BÃ³inne Visitor Centre), you don’t even have to rent a car – just sign up for a day tour from Dublin.
>> Want to include Newgrange on your visit to Ireland? You can fly into Dublin, book a stay at one of the budget Dublin hotels, and then get a spot on a Newgrange tour. Learn more at the official Newgrange site.
photo by MllePeterson