Newgrange passage tomb is Ireland’s best known prehistoric monument. Built around 3200 BC by Stone Age farmers, Newgrange is 1,000 older than Stonehenge and centuries older than the great pyramids of Egypt. The mound itself is 85 meters (93 yards) in diameter and 13.5 meters (15 yards) high, and on an area of about 1 acre. The Boyne Valley complex was designated a World Heritage site by UNESCO in 1993. Look how small the people are next to it in the picture below:
You cannot just drive up to Newgrange (I know because I tried). You need to go to the Brú na Bóinne Visitor’s Center and buy tickets and a shuttle will take you to Newgrange (or Knowth or Dowth if you choose to go to one of the other passage tombs).
Note: Brú na Bóinne Visitor Centre is due to undergo major refurbishment from February 2019. For the duration of the works, the online pre-booking service will not be available.
All tickets will be issued on a daily first come first served basis.
After driving around to try to find Newgrange on my own, I found Mary Gibbons Newgrange tours. She does a fabulous job of getting you to the Visitor’s Center, getting your tickets (although this may change with the pre-booking not available as mentioned above), and getting you on the shuttle. She also includes the Hill of Tara which is a site of deep contemplation and was once the ancient seat of power in Ireland.
Glendalough is one of my favorite places in Ireland. The name comes from the Irish “Gleann da locha”, meaning the Glen of two Lakes. “It combines extensive monastic ruins with a stunning natural setting in the Wicklow Mountains. The beauty and tranquility of the lakes and glacial-carved valley no doubt appealed to St Kevin, a hermit monk, who founded the monastic site near the Lower Lake in the 6th Century.”
“Kilkenny is famous for many things: its majestic creeper-clad castle (the image at the top); a bustling crafts industry; cobbled lanes and secret passages; 1,000 years of history and cracking festivals.
This magical combination of culture and entertainment that attracts so many people to this captivating heritage city, right in the centre of Ireland’s Ancient East and just 90 minutes south of Dublin.”
You might want to stop in at the famous Kytelers Inn which dates back to 1324. I was in Las Vegas for St Patrick’s Day one year, and they had a sign for Kytelers Inn. I took a picture of it and posted it on twitter which earned me a free pint of Guinness when I went to Kytelers a month or so later.
You should also visit St. Canice’s Cathedral and Round Tower. The tower is fun because you can actually climb up in and see the surrounding countryside.
Seans Bar is a fun place to visit. It has a “detailed and documented history right back to 900AD”. It is between Dublin and Galway, in the middle of the country in Athlone.
How to get there: https://www.rome2rio.com/s/Dublin/Sean-s-Bar
Belfast – Is a short train ride from Dublin. But you should plan to spend at least one night there to see the sites in the area. So Belfast deserves it’s own blog page. 🙂