Ireland day 0319. Saturday 13 August 2022- Newgrange3
A bit like our trip to Dublin yesterday, having a visitor today gave us the perfect excuse to head north up the coast to the Boyne Valley, to the 5000 year old Brú na Bóinne (Palace on the Boyne) Neolithic site. We’ve visited twice already, but it’s still one of our favourite destinations on the east coast.
I’m not going to write pages of rapturous prose about the site – I’ve already done that twice before. But it really is a fabulous place- and one which fully deserves its UNESCO World Heritage status. You can only go in if you have a timed ticket booked in advance – which is a bit of a pain because you can’t be spontaneous but it does mean that it’s never crowded up there. Our visit slot wasn’t until 11:45 which meant we had time for a fairly leisurely breakfast (I say “fairly” though, because shockingly we didn’t wake up until 9:30 am – the Temple Bar revelry yesterday must have knocked us out – so we didn’t have long to linger over our Weetabix this morning). And today, because it’s National Heritage Week here in Ireland, the entrance fees which we had paid in advance were refunded. A nice surprise!
We’ve been lucky every time we have called in at Newgrange. The sun has invariably been sunny and bright, and today it was not just sunny and bright, but warm as well. Another pretty much perfect day in fact. So a swift run up the M1 got us there in double quick time and we even had a few moments to spare for a quick look round the superb OPW visitor centre. Access to the Neolithic monuments at Knowth and Newgrange is strictly limited so you have to go up from the visitor centre to the sites by minibus. Then there’s a guided tour round each of the monuments. I don’t usually enjoy guided tours as they can be a bit boring and sometimes drag on a bit. But today they were excellent. Our guide round Knowth, who’s name was Uisce, deserves a special place in the OPW hall of fame.
Every time we visit I learn a bit more about these beautiful ancient monuments. Today it was the turn of geology – and the realisation that the specially selected materials and giant stones which were used in the construction of the tombs themselves, came from 50km / 30mi away – or more – and were transported there by brute human force – or by river – at a time when the wheel had not yet been invented anywhere outside Phoenicia.
Once the tour was finished and our knowledge acquisition complete, we stopped for some calorie acquisition and a cup of tea in the café then headed down to the beach at Clogherhead for a quick paddle. It was lovely down there, but absolutely packed with weekend sunseekers, making full use of the sunny weather to enjoy the sand and sea.
This evening we celebrated the final act in a nice few days with our visitor, with a trip to the Kathmandu Kitchen – a restaurant in Malahide which professes to offer an authentic Nepalese experience even if it does so from a modest suburban house on the side of the main road to Dublin. A fitting end to a wonderful day.
Today’s photos (click to enlarge)
(No map today)