Not many people know this but one of the great wonders of the ancient world can be found in Ireland. Eight kilometers from the village of Slane is the Passage Grave of Newgrange. Along with the equally less famous Knowth and Dowth, Newgrange is actually older than both Stonehenge and the Pyramids of Egypt. The estimated age of these awe-inspiring sites is over five thousand years. At almost ninety metres in diameter, a height of eleven metres and covering almost one acre, the main burial mound is actually bounded by three smaller passage graves that are now sadly just ruins. The burial mound is located on a hill and has a breathtaking view of the Boyne Valley. The passage of the grave extends to only just a quarter of the total diameter of the mound. The passage opens into a central chamber that has three small chambers located at the west, east, and north. Newgrange is an important archaeological and anthtropological site not only for the graves but also for the sheer amount of megalithic art that can be seen all over the chambers most especially on the eastern part of the site. But the most striking aspect of the Newgrange Passage Grave is the roof-box that is located at the entrance. Anyone would think it is jus decorative and has no significance but upon closer inspection its precise alignment and location actually tells much about the level of knowledge the ancient civilization who made it possessed. The roof-box, 90cm by 1m, is precisely aligned to catch the first rays of the sunrise on the winter solstice morning of December 21. On that significant day, the sun’s rays passes through the roofbox, down the passageway and then lights up the central chamber. This lasts for fifteen minutes before the chamber is then thrust back into darkness. The Passage Grave of Newgrange is another wonderful destination in your car trip through Ireland. In fact renting a car and driving through the various tourist destinations is the best way of touring the country. Car hire companies offer competitive car hire packages for tourists.
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