What is the oldest thing in Ireland?

Answered by Douglas Hiatt

The oldest thing in Ireland is Newgrange, a remarkable Stone Age monument located in the Boyne Valley, County Meath. This ancient site is considered the crown jewel of Ireland’s Ancient East, a region known for its rich history and archaeological wonders.

Constructed around 5,200 years ago, Newgrange predates both Stonehenge and the Great Pyramids of Giza, making it one of the oldest surviving structures in the world. Its impressive age is a testament to the incredible craftsmanship and ingenuity of our ancient ancestors.

Newgrange is a Neolithic monument, meaning it was built during the New Stone Age. The people who constructed this magnificent site were early farmers who had settled in the area. They had advanced knowledge of engineering and astronomy, which is evident in the design and alignment of the monument.

The main structure at Newgrange is a large circular mound, or tumulus, made of earth and stone. Its diameter measures approximately 85 meters, and it reaches a height of 13.5 meters. The exterior is adorned with white quartz stones, creating a stunning visual effect.

One of the most remarkable features of Newgrange is its passage tomb, which is accessed through a narrow, stone-lined corridor. This passage leads to a central chamber, where the remains of the deceased were once interred. The architecture and construction techniques used to create this tomb are truly remarkable, considering the limited tools and technology available at the time.

Perhaps the most famous aspect of Newgrange is its astronomical alignment. During the winter solstice, a narrow beam of sunlight enters the passage tomb through a specially designed roof box above the entrance. This phenomenon illuminates the central chamber, creating a breathtaking display of light and shadow. This remarkable feat of engineering demonstrates the early inhabitants’ deep understanding of astronomical events and their connection to the natural world.

Visiting Newgrange is a truly awe-inspiring experience. Stepping foot inside this ancient monument allows you to connect with the past and appreciate the incredible achievements of our ancestors. The sense of history and spirituality that permeates the site is palpable, making it a must-visit destination for anyone interested in Ireland’s ancient heritage.

The oldest thing in Ireland is Newgrange, a Neolithic monument dating back over 5,200 years. Its age surpasses that of Stonehenge and the Great Pyramids of Giza, making it a significant archaeological site of global importance. Exploring Newgrange not only offers a glimpse into our ancient past but also provides a profound appreciation for the ingenuity and knowledge of our prehistoric ancestors.