The ancient site of Newgrange has been named as the most important historical monument in Ireland in a National Heritage survey.
The underground chamber, which is part of the Brú na Bóinne site in Co Meath, received 12% of the vote.
Newgrange even finished above the General Post Office in Dublin, where one of the most significant events in Irish history, the Easter Rising, took place.
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 also as a burial site.
The Winter Solstice
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 Irish people were not only aware of astronomy but also well organised and highly skilled.
Important for Irish tourism
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.
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