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Newgrange: A 5000 Year Old Tomb

Newgrange: A 5000 Year Old Tomb

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This post is part of our series on our road trip through Ireland. New to this series? Check out our first post here.

A few weeks ago, Ryan’s parents met us in Ireland. This was their first time out of the country and they had brand-spanking new passports to get stamped. As usual, Ryan did the planning, but we had a loose itinerary. We would be driving a big loop around Ireland (it’s not a big country). Our first step was to pick up the rental car from Europcar. It did NOT go smoothly.

We got there early to pick up what we thought was a $400 rental (already our most expensive rental). No car rental site in Ireland will tell you this (we checked), but Ireland, Jamaica, and Israel are not covered by Visa’s credit cards (Mastercard’s list of excluded countries is longer). Without a written letter from your credit card company stating you will be insured, you’ll pay for the rental company’s insurance. Why? No idea. Ireland is safe with excellent roads. The total price shot up to over $700 and we had no choice but to pay. Meanwhile, Ryan’s parents were waiting at the airport.

Ireland road trip tips coming soon.

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    The beautiful Irish countryside in Meath

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    The Newgrange tomb

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    The entrance to the tomb (the lower opening, the top is for the sunlight)

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    Massive rocks form the base of the tomb

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    Some of the earliest artwork in the world was carved into these stones

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    Looking out over Meath from Newgrange

Newgrange

We suppressed our bitter anger at the situation (we got scrummed!) and hit the road. Even though Ryan’s parents had just walked off a 7-hour red-eye from New York, we pumped them full of caffeine and went to Newgrange . Newgrange, a Unesco World Heritage Site, is a prehistoric tomb located in County Meath, just North of Dublin. The mound is a short walk and bus ride away from a lovely visitor’s center. What’s great about the tours here is that you decide how much time you want to spend here. You can easily spend the day and see Newgrange, Knowth, and the exhibit at the Visitor’s center. If you’re pressed for time you can just visit one of the tombs. We didn’t feel up to taking a 4-hour tour, so we opted to just see Newgrange (which was recommended) since visitors can go inside.

The Newgrange tomb is a white and gray stone circle that sits at the top of a hill overlooking a green valley of farms and sheep. It is an impressive feat of human engineering. The exterior has been restored (the interior is original) to the archaeological teams’ “best guess”. That’s a bummer, but without these restorations we wouldn’t have been able to visit. The interior has been left unchanged for 5,000 years (yeah, it’s older than the Great Pyramid of Giza!). I didn’t think people were that smart back then, but they designed a room that didn’t need mortar, repelled water, and is lit by the sun one dawn a year. Unbelievable! I almost didn’t go in because the guide made it sound like I’d be contorting myself to squeeze through narrow rock tunnel. Thankfully, there was plenty of room to navigate (of course, I’m only 5’3”).

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    The sun setting over Portrush, just to the west of Bushmills

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    Not a bad place to spend the night

That was enough excitement for one day so we made the 1.5 hour trek to our apartment in Bushmills and slept like the dead. The next day, we’d be off to explore Giant’s Causeway.

 

Look for our next post on our time at Giant’s Causeway by following us on Feedly @retreat2movefwd.

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