IRISH NEOLITHIC TOMBS

OR AT LAST I ARRIVE AT NEWGRANGE

NERD ALERT: I’m going to nip this one in as I just came back from Ireland and it seems to be a shame not to be telling you about the passage tombs and fabulous time I had there. Be prepared for some truly awful stereotypical references which are said with love not malice

Top of the Morning and all that!

There has been a long time waiting but at last I’ve arrived at a destination that’s close to home and my heart for it’s great people and food and passage tombs! I have been waiting for a bit of the Irish love and history and this specific type of tomb for yonks to be sure.

I stayed at the Scholars House Hotel which was a ten minute walk from the bus station through an unremarkable Drogheda. It was bright sunshine and I was so blessed with the weather that I could even sit out in their lovely little garden out front.

Pretty hotel garden enjoyed more after beer the rum for no apparent reason.

Now once esconced in that very fine hotel with its lovely old world atmosphere, an open log fire and a lovely looking menu, I was in love and never wanted to go further than their sister pub Peggy Moore’s. (more about that little cracker later.) Peggy’s doesn’t open till five and I was already tiddly poms after trying a couple of local beers at the hotel so I didn’t make it there the first night. I organized my car for the morning for early doors at Newgrange and got out some Euros from the local supermarket and some cake, toothpaste, a toothbrush and sweeties. (that supermarket would prove to make the best sausage and egg sandwich ever.)

A sweetie shop inside a pub? Yes to be sure, it was Molly’s shop for 70 years and she sold allsorts

After unpacking I had some tea and a bit of my cake while mulling over all my plans for the following day. There is a limited amount you can do in one day and realistically I wouldn’t want to go to the not so good and still busy other venues apart from Bru na Boinne. I plumped for Four Knocks as my Rebecca’s choice that nearly nobody goes to as it’s off the beaten track. You have to get a key from the farmer down the road and return it after. It was my wild card but what a great decision it was. A quick trip to the bar for a superb seafood chowder topped with their deeply smokey salmon and freshly baked bread and Irish creamy butter, then wearily to bed.

Newgrange.

The renovated exterior of Newgrange in its verdant setting.

The visitors centre that you have to go through is very smart and beautifully designed- and so it should be at an eye watering 18 Euros to enter- and they have a little show on the side which is more for kids but again beautifully produced.

The fast running Boyne viewed before a bus ride up to Bru na Boinne. (Newgrange)
The main entrance for this enigmatic burial space of the ancestors

You walk over a bridge that takes you to your bus which drops you to your guide who is a pain in the arse. It’s taken on a military precise schedule these days which sanitizes and spoils the experience. You are led in like sheep in small groups and not allowed to take pics while the guide somehow made it boring.

Lots of squiggles and the ubiquitous spirals which are still not understood.

It didn’t matter to me I never listen to guides anyway it’s the experience I’m after so absorbed the vibe as best I could with the other disappointed morons around me. Here are the only pics I managed for you lot so appreciate I risked being taken away by the feckin Garda.

I know they are not brilliant pics but I did my best for fecks sake!
Oh yes and this one hastily snapped with the guide at my heels.

The huge stones around the mound and areas where there found post holes were never explained by guide and there were no signs so people had no chance to have a quick read up on the deeper significance of the site.

Knowth.

Quick bus ride and a little explanatory film with a lovely woman cheered our group no end. Here you can wander free and actually climb the mound, it was great. The interior held more magic too and the many mini mounds added through the centuries made foe a much more exciting prospect, it was still a bit of a rush but incredibly atmospheric. Have a butchers.

One passage in Dowth’s main monument mound. I got the shot by putting my phone through the bars.

It’s a very busy place

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