Newgrange: world’s oldest astronomical building

Newgrange Meath

Sunlight enters Newgrange. Image (c) OPW

This elaborate burial mound is arguably the world\’s oldest astronomical observatory. The tomb was built so that, at each Winter Solstice, the first rays of the rising sun shine through a special opening and light up the inner chamber.

The construction is a feat of precision engineering, made 5,000 years ago by Stone Age people who possessed neither metal tools nor the wheel. Yet their observatory marks the turning point of the solar year and it was built 500 years before the pyramids and 1,000 years before the astronomical alignment at Stonehenge. Access through Bru na Boinne visitor centre.

For more information:

Bru na Boinne visitor centre

Newgrange, on the Irish Astronomy Heritage Trail.

Facilities: visitor centre, parking, cafe, audiovisual, guided tours.

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