Boyne Valley Megalithic Sites

8hrs | €525
Book online now!

Boyne Valley Megalithic Sites


Boyne Valley Tours

Duration

8 hours


Boyne Valley Tours

Price

€525


Boyne Valley Tours

Suitable for

All ages,
small private group


Boyne Valley Tours

Duration

8 hours

Boyne Valley Tours

Price

€525

Boyne Valley Tours

Suitable for

All ages,
small private group

On this tour you will travel 5,000 years back in time and walk in the footsteps of Stone Age people.

You will marvel at the sheer scale of the imposing monuments and the skill of those who built them to precisely align with the solar calendar.

You will have the undivided attention of your personal expert tour guide who will share fascinating information and stories, truly bringing the past to life. A private vehicle will transport you in comfort, ensuring you arrive at each location relaxed and ready to explore.

Official guided tours to Newgrange and Knowth passage tombs begin at the Brú na Bóinne Visitor Center and, from there, visitors are taken by shuttle bus to the sites. These are UNESCO World Heritage sites where you will join others on the official tours.

We will meet you after the Brú na Boínne Visitor Experience tours of Newgrange and Knowth have finished and drive you in comfort onwards to your next location, Dowth passage tomb. The mound at Dowth has not been restored and, as a result, you will be rewarded with a real sense of spiritual connection as you ramble around this peaceful site. After learning of the rich history of this ancient tomb, your final destination will be the Fourknocks passage tomb, hidden off the beaten track and with a secret key to reveal all.

Tour Highlights

  • Brú na Bóinne Visitor Experience – an introduction to the 5,000 year old passage tombs of the Boyne Valley.
  • Visit the megalithic passage tombs at Newgrange and Knowth with the on-site guide. These are UNESCO World Heritage sites so you will be joining others on the official tour.
  • Dowth megalithic passage tomb which has not been excavated or restored.
  • Fourknocks – Off the beaten track megalithic passage tomb.

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When you book with Boyne Valley Tours, you will experience over 5,000 years of Irish culture and history, plus breath-taking scenery.

 

 

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  • Itinerary
    Newgrange & Knowth The Boyne Valley, in the heart of Ireland’s Ancient East, is famous for the Brú na Boínne or ‘Palace of the Boyne’ UNESCO World Heritage passage tombs at Newgrange and Knowth. The Stone Age tombs are over 5,000 years old, predating both the pyramids in Egypt and Stonehenge in England.
    Newgrange The Newgrange passage tomb is a large circular mound formation 279 ft across and 43 ft high with an internal stone passageway and chamber. It is surrounded by a ring of large stones known as kerbstones, some of which bear intricate engravings.

    The monument has been recognised as much more than a passage tomb. An ancient temple is a more fitting description of Newgrange because it is a place of astrological, religious and ceremonial importance.

    In the 12th century, the mound and land around Newgrange become part of an outlying farm owned by the Cistercian Abbey of Mellifont. Because these farms were referred to as ‘granges’, by 1378 it was simply called ‘the new grange.

    Newgrange is world famous for the phenomena around the time of the winter solstice in December when a single shaft of dawn sunlight penetrates and precisely illuminates the inner chamber.

    Visitors to the historic site can experience the winter solstice illumination at any time of the year and this is often the highlight of the Brú na Boínne Visitor Experience official tour. Once every tour member is present inside, the lights are turned off, plunging the tomb into darkness. A light then simulates the sun as it would appear at dawn on the winter solstice, slowly illuminating the passageway and inner chamber. A lottery is held annually for tickets to allow just 20 people entry per morning to the tomb to view the actual event.

    Knowth Knowth is a Stone Age passage tomb located in the Boyne Valley and, together with Newgrange, form the principal monuments of the Brú na Bóinne UNESCO World Heritage Site. Knowth is the largest passage tomb of the Brú na Bóinne complex consisting of a  mound 220 ft in diameter and 40 ft high plus 19 smaller satellite tombs. It contains two passages placed along an east-west axis and was originally encircled by 127 large stones (similar to the kerbstones at Newgrange)of which 124 are still in place.

    The east-west orientation of the passages at Knowth suggests an astronomical alignment with the equinoxes occurring in March and September. The alignment at Knowth does not however occur today due to the original entrances to the passages being destroyed, making it difficult to establish if an alignment existed in the first place.

    Similar to Newgrange, the imposing mound at Knowth dates from around 3200BC and contains over a third of the total number of examples of Megalithic art in all of Western Europe including the oldest known illustration of the moon. Much of the artwork is found on the kerbstones, particularly those on approach to the passage entrances. Interestingly, some of this artwork was carved on the backs of the stones, known as hidden art.

    A new visitor experience has recently opened at Knowth and includes improved interpretation to tell the story of the 50-year archaeological excavation of the site, its Megalithic art and its importance both nationally and worldwide.

    Dowth Dowth megalithic passage tomb is the one of the three principal tombs of the Brú na Bóinne World Heritage Site. Although not as well-known, it compares in size to both Newgrange and Knowth. The mound measures 280 ft in diameter and 50 ft in height and is surrounded by large kerbstones, some featuring Megalithic art such as kerbstone 51, ‘Stone of the Seven Suns.’

    There are two passages with chambers within the mound; the longest is the north passage at 59 ft leading to a cruciform chamber with an annex room off the right hand arm of the cross.

    Like Newgrange, Dowth is aligned with the winter solstice. During this period in December, the setting sunlight penetrates the passage tomb and illuminates three stones within the central chamber.

    Unfortunately, in 1847, the mound was subjected to a brutal excavation whereby two passage tombs were discovered but the mound was severely damaged in the process.

    Whilst there is no access to the interior of the passage tomb, visitors can walk around the perimeter and take in the stunning views.

    Fourknocks Fourknocks passage tomb is truly a hidden gem, located just outside the village of Ardcath. It derives its name from the Irish, Fuair Cnoic or ‘cold hills.’ The mound was built around 5,000 years ago, a similar timeline to both the Newgrange and Knowth tombs.

    The entrance to Fourknocks is secured by a modern door, the key for which can be obtained from a house in the locality. It is a once in a lifetime experience to open an ancient passage tomb and step inside to explore with no one else around.

    The 17 ft passage leads into a large, circular chamber with three recesses, giving it a circular cruciform shape. The interior is decorated with Megalithic art and includes what is possibly  the first depiction of a human face found in prehistoric art in Ireland. You can decide if it is indeed a smiling face or simply abstract art.

    Fragments of 65 burials were found in the tomb, both the cremated and unburnt remains of adults and children. Decorated pottery, vessels and personal ornaments including pendants and beads were also found. All of the items were moved to the National Museum in Dublin.

    Whilst Fourknocks is too far north to have a solar alignment, it is however aligned with the path of the winter solstice sunrise towards Newgrange. During stone age times, the passage tomb was aligned with the helical rising of the ‘W’ shaped constellation of Cassiopeia, perhaps accounting for the dominance of ‘W’ shaped zig zag engravings.

     

    With all of our Boyne Valley Private Tours, we are happy to recommend lunch and coffee stops on the day (please note meals are not included in tour prices).

    After a wonderful day, Boyne Valley Tours will drive you back to your accommodation in a private vehicle.

    We look forward to welcoming you!

    Book online now!
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  • Exclusions

    Admission fees, meals.

  • Cancellation Policy
    • Full refund or future credit if the tour is canceled up to 30 days before a tour.
    • 50% refund between 30 days and 10 days before a tour.
    • No refund will be issued within 10 days of a tour.

    The itinerary can be customized even while on tour! In case you have any particular interest, let me know so we can adapt it!

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When you book with Boyne Valley Tours you will experience over 5,000 years of Irish Culture and History. Choose from our tours across the Boyne Valley as well as popular Wicklow Tours and Highlights.

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