The ancient site of Newgrange has been named as the most important historical monument in Ireland in a National Heritage survey.
It is an ancient site that is older than the Egyptian pyramids and Stonehenge in England. Five thousand years ago it was used as a place of worship and was a burial site for leaders of the Celtic societies.
Newgrange is famous for the spectacular phenomena that takes place on the Winter Solstice. The tomb is built in such a way that the opening directly faces the sunrise on the Winter Solstice. This results in the sunlight bursting through the passageway and gradually filling the chamber as the sun rises.
It is no accident that this occurs on the Winter Solstice and it is evidence that the ancient Celts were not only aware of astronomy but also well organised and highly skilled.
Castles are the favourite monument sites in Ireland ahead of museums and county manors and estates according to the survey.
It was also revealed that 91% of people believe heritage sites to be very important for Irish tourism. However, nearly three quarters of respondents didn’t think enough was being done to promote to sites to the public.
Fans of Newgrange had double reasons to be cheerful as the tomb was also named the nation’s number one heritage site for the fourth year in a row.