Brú na Bóinne is one of the most important prehistoric landscapes in the world, pre-dating the famous Pyramids of Egypt and Stonehenge in England, and it can be found in the heart of the Boyne Valley in Meath. Irish for ‘Palace of the Boyne’, Brú na Bóinne is located at the bend of the River Boyne.
Brú na Bóinne is famed for its three well-known passage tombs, Newgrange, Knowth and Dowth, of which Newgrange is the largest and most recognised. Dating back over 5,000 years, this collection of tombs is arguably Ireland’s most iconic Neolithic sites, and was awarded the status of a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1993, the first site in Ireland to achieve this. Along with these three impressive passage tombs, Brú na Bóinne is home to around 90 additional monuments, adding significant archaeological importance to the area.
Built by Stone Age farmers, the collection of tombs and ancient stone circles and monuments at Brú na Bóinne is thought to have originally been constructed as a way for early Irish settlers to distinguish between the seasons. Indeed, today the Winter Solstice is one of the biggest days of the year as many people gather at Brú na Bóinne to celebrate the shortest day of the year.
Historically Brú na Bóinne has been used for many things including burial rituals, religious ceremonies and early Christian farming. The tombs at Brú na Bóinne, and in particular Knowth, are home to the largest collection of megalithic art in Western Europe.
Today, Brú na Bóinne, and in particular, the iconic tomb of Newgrange is one of Ireland’s most popular visitor attractions and one of the signature discovery points along Ireland’s Ancient East. Open throughout the year, you can begin your voyage of discovery by visiting the Brú na Bóinne Visitor Centre, where you can also gain access to this magnificent landscape and enjoy a tour of these great tombs.
If you are planning a trip to Brú na Bóinne, it is best advised to arrive early to avoid the large crowds that can gather later in the day, especially during the busier summer months.