Brú na Bóinne - Newgrange - 5,000 Year Old Time Capsule

We left Dublin by bus as the sun was rising.  Our destination?  The 5,000 year old Newgrange (Brú na Bóinne) Stone Age Passage Tomb.  
 Not far outside the city, our bus left the main highway and we slowly crept along an ice covered road to our destination.
 We disembarked from the bus and walked along a partially covered path to the visitors' center.
 We bought our tickets (6 euro/pp) and were assigned a time slot to visit.  In the summer, it's recommended that visitors arrive early to avoid disappointment since only a certain number of visitors are allowed each day to help preserve the integrity of the site.  The advantage of going in winter is that you avoid the crowds, even while suffering a bit in the cold.  It's a short walk from the visitors' center to the bus that takes you up to the site.  We crossed the River Boyne, a river active for salmon fishing at certain times of the year.
 
 The bus dropped us off at the base of the hill and we could see Newgrange in the distance.
 
 We waited on a small porch outside the guide's warming hut.
We climbed up the hill and learned all about Newgrange from our knowledgeable guide, Frank.  Newgrange was built 5,000 years ago.  Its purpose can only be imagined, but it's thought that the significance of the site lies around the cycles of the sun.  At sunrise on the winter solstice, a beam of light enters the chamber and illuminates the interior.  Thousands of people enter a lottery each year for the privilege of seeing this phenomenon on December 21st.
We weren't allowed to take pictures inside the tomb but it was pretty amazing.  We passed the large, highly decorated entrance stone and carefully made our way in. 
The chamber was much smaller than I imagined and the rocks were covered with neolithic art.  There were about 25 of us inside and we were elbow-to-elbow.  The rocks were placed with care one on top of the other so that the structure has survived without any kind of joint compound for millenia.  I did take one picture on the way back outside.  The pathway to get in and out of the Newgrange passage tomb is extremely short and narrow.
 
I took some additional photos of the outside of the structure.  The reconstructed 5,000 year of quartz facade was particularly striking in the sun.
 
 We did a quick walk around the outside of the mound to admire the kerb stones.
 
 
 It was a pretty cold morning, so we were happy to find ourselves back in the 21st century at the cafe in the visitors center.  We treated ourselves to a slice of orange/almond cake and coffee and took some time to reflect on how amazing it was that something so old still survives today.  It's like a beacon from our ancestors.

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Sidewalk Safari: Brú na Bóinne - Newgrange - 5,000 Year Old Time Capsule
Brú na Bóinne - Newgrange - 5,000 Year Old Time Capsule
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