This evening. I am dipping into one of my key interests, namely the prehistory evidence in the British Isles as manifested in the numerous stone circles, burial cairns and rock carvings which survive from that era.

Today, the landscapes of Britain and Ireland are littered with evidence of our prehistoric ancestors dating back to the Neolithic and Bronze Ages ( 4500BC-1000BC). I have a web page dedicated to this era, with emphasis on my base in Scotland where, perhaps on the mainland, the best concentration can be found in Kilmartin Glen on the west near Oban.

In course of  recent visit to Ireland I was fortunate to visit Newgrange, which is probably the premier prehistoric site in the country.

Newgrange lies close to the town of Drogheda, north of Dublin, and forms part of a concentration of prehistory at the western end of the valley of the River Boyne which includes the passage tomb complex of Knowth and three great tombs at Dowth. Newgrange dates back to arond 3000BC. It is a passage tomb surrounded by a kerb of 97 stones. The mound covers a single tomb consisting of a log passage and a cross shaped chamber. Above the entrance is the ‘roof box’ through which the mid-winter sun penetrates into the chamber, an event which attracts a lot of interest, similar to mid summer and mid winter at Stonehenge.

I was particularly interested in the carvings or ‘rock art’ which are similar to their counterparts in Scotland in consisting of concentric circles patiently chipped out of the hard rock. We can only speculate on the purpose of these carvings.

Newgrange was excavated between 1962-1975 and thereafter partly reconstructed with a white quartz facade. This was inspired by the remains of quantities of quartz found on the site. It is quite common to find quartz on the sites of stone circles in Britain suggesting that the mineral had a special significance to the ancient people.

Access to Newgrange is by guided tour only.

Newgrange Rock Art

Rock Art at Newgrange

 

Newgrange Rock Art

Rock Art, Ireland

Newgrange, Ireland

Newgrange

I suspect this monument is actually the remains of a burial cairn as opposed to a stone circle.

Prehistoric Stones at Iveragh

Prehistoric Stones, Ireland

Elsewhere today, I have been primarily occupied with work on two new prospective tours which both entail visitors from the Far East; one an escorted tour and the other self-drive. Tomorrow, I have to finalise a new driving tour itinerary of England, Scotland and Ireland.

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