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Europe > Britain and Ireland > Ireland > East Coast and Midlands > County Meath > Brú Na Bóinne Archaeological Park
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Brú na Bóinne (English: "Palace of the Boyne") is an internationally important complex of Neolithic chamber tombs, standing stones, henges and other prehistoric enclosures located in a wide meander of the River Boyne in Ireland.

Understand

Newgrange Neolithic Burial Mound

The Brú Na Bóinne Visitor Centre acts as a gateway to the Brú Na Bóinne Archaeological Park for visitors from all over the world and is the starting point for all visits to the archaeological sites of Newgrange and Knowth. It is administered by the Office of Public Works and Heritage Ireland. Newgrange is also on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Access to the other sites in the Brú na Bóinne Archaeological Park is limited. The Dowth site is open to the public direct from the road, but there is only limited access to the southern chamber (during the Winter Solstice alignment) and no access to the northern passage and chamber. Many of the satellite sites are on private land and, therefore, access is extremely restricted and requires permission from the landowners.

Get in

All access to the Newgrange and Knowth sites is by guided tour only and all tours begin at the Visitor Centre. Anyone arriving directly at the sites will be redirected to the Brú na Bóinne Visitor Centre, where they are placed on the next available tour. Visitors cross the river via a footbridge at the Visitor Centre and are brought by shuttle bus to the sites. Due to the small nature of the interior of the sites, places are limited to a maximum of 700 per day, which can fill up quickly - particularly during summer months. Tours are sold on a first come, first serve basis and so visitors are advised to arrive early.

By car

From Dublin, take the M1 towards Drogheda. From the west take the N52 via Navan/Slane. On both routes follow the brown/white signage for the Visitor Centre and not for Newgrange Farm. The Visitor Centre is located west of the village of Donore, Co. Meath, Ireland. This tends to cause some confusion among visitors, as the Brú na Bóinne Visitor Centre is located on the south side of the river Boyne, whereas the sites themselves are located on the north side of the river.

By train

Take a train to Drogheda, then take a local bus from the bus station (see below) a 15min walk from the train station. Drogheda is well served by direct intercity and commuter services from Belfast and Dublin.

By bus

From Dublin, take the No.100X bus to Drogheda from Busáras bus station, from Belfast take the BE service from the Europa Buscentre to Drogheda. From Drogheda take the No.163 bus from the bus station to the Visitor Centre in Donore.

Get around

Map of Brú Na Bóinne Archaeological Park

Tour operators

Bus Éireann, Mary Gibbons and Irish City Tours operate regular tours from Dublin to the Visitor Centre and Newgrange site most days.

See

Entrance to the Megalithic Passage Tomb in the valley of the Boyne. The top entrance, or 'roof box' entrance, is for the sun

The 1 Visitor Centre is open all year round, with longer opening hours in the summer time. The Visitor Centre houses a large interactive exhibition on the Brú na Bóinne area, an audio-visual presentation, a wheelchair accessible replica of the interior of the 2 passage and chamber at Newgrange. It also has a tourist office, gift shop and tea rooms. There is a large car park and a picnic area at the Visitor Centre. There is no left luggage facility.

The entrance slab is 10 feet by 4 feet in size and 5 tons in weight. It is one of the most famous rocks in Ireland and stands at the entrance to Newgrange, a “passage tomb” 300 feet in diameter and 40 feet high that is older than the Egyptian pyramids and Stonehenge. The carved spiral design, although more ancient than the coming of the Celts to Ireland, was often copied by them and became one of the legendary Celtic designs.

The Visitor Centre exhibition, audio-visual presentation, return shuttle bus to either site and full guided tour are all included in the entry fee. Visitors have access to the chamber at Newgrange (no photography or filming is allowed). There is only very limited access to the eastern passage of 3 Knowth and visitors may only look down it - there is no access to either passage or chamber.

Do

  • Enter the annual Solstice lottery for a place in the chamber of Newgrange on the winter solstice (21 December).
  • Visit Newgrange on the Winter Solstice in order to witness the rising sun alignment (weather permitting). Access to the site is allowed, but only winners of the annual solstice lottery and other guests are allowed access to the chamber.
  • Visit Dowth on the Winter Solstice in order to witness the setting sun alignment (weather permitting). No lottery applies - usually the assembled people take turns inside the chamber.

Eat

There is a café, tourist information point and toilet facilities available in the Visitor Centre. Limited toilet facilities are available on-site at Newgrange and Knowth.

Sleep

  • Newgrange Lodge Hotel. Formerly an old farmhouse, Newgrange Lodge offers hotel accommodation and traditional Irish hospitality at bed and breakfast rates to both groups and the independent traveller alike. Located opposite the world famous UNESCO Heritage site of Newgrange. The lodge is perched on seven acres overlooking the tranquil, picturesque Boyne Valley.
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