Brú na Bóinne – Newgrange, Knowth and Dowth
Brú na Bóinne Visitor Centre is due to reopen on 20 July (pending government announcements – please check https://www.heritageireland.ie/en/ before travel)
The new state of the art, immersive visitor experience focuses on the monuments of the World Heritage Site during the Neolithic period. It transports visitors back 5000 years to the pinnacle of passage tomb building when Brú na Bóinne contained some of the largest buildings in the world.
Would you like to witness the Winter Solstice at Newgrange? For the very first time the Office of Public Works (OPW) are accepting email applications to the hottest tickets in Ireland; click here for details.
The exhibits explore the seasonal nature of Stone Age society, the significance of the solar cycle, ceremonies and the monument building process.
Brú na Bóinne Visitor Centre is the starting point for all visits to Newgrange and Knowth. Do not go directly to the monuments as you will not gain entry. Visitors are brought via shuttle bus to the monuments
On 1st March 2020 new tour options begin that include visiting both Newgrange and Knowth as standard.
The previous options of visiting Knowth or Newgrange only are no longer available.
1. Brú na Bóinne Tour – Outside Only:
This is a visit to Knowth and Newgrange exterior only.
2. Brú na Bóinne Plus Newgrange Chamber Tour:
This is a visit to Newgrange and Knowth, which includes access to the chamber at Newgrange.
Average duration of both tour options is 2 hours 45 minutes including the visitor centre exhibitions.
Groups of 15 or more must prebook one of our group time slots by emailing email@example.com for availability.
In early March, all tickets will be ‘walk-in’ and sold on a first come first served basis.
Online booking will be fully reintroduced by the end of March on the Bru na Boinne website. The online booking system is for parties with 14 people or fewer.
Walk-in tickets for the Brú na Bóinne plus Newgrange Chamber tour will be phased out and online booking will be essential for this option.
Brú na Bóinne is a very busy site.
Tickets on both tour options are limited.
Visitors may incur long delays or not gain access to the sites.
Access is not guaranteed – without pre-booked tickets (when they are introduced)
The passage and chamber at Newgrange is low and narrow and maybe not suitable for visitors with claustrophobia or mobility issues – please contact us in advance if you have any concerns.
There is no access to the passages and chambers at Knowth on either tour option.
The monuments are outdoor sites with no shelter, please dress appropriately for the weather.
Photographic is not permitted in the passage or chamber at Newgrange
Permit is required for commercial filming/photography.
Large bags are not permitted inside Newgrange; visitors will be asked to leave them in the secure containers provided while they are in the chamber.
Newgrange (c 3,200 B.C.) is the best-known monument of the World Heritage Site of Brú na Bóinne, predating the ancient pyramids by 400 years and Stonehenge by 1000. The passage tomb is surrounded by 97 kerb stones, the most impressive is the large entrance stone which is covered in swirls and designs. Inside the large mound there is a long passage leading into a chamber which branches off three ways. The corbelled roof inside the burial chamber it still watertight and supports an estimated 200,000 tonnes of cairn. The cremated remains of the dead were laid on large stone basins inside the chamber which usually were accompanied by grave goods.
At dawn on the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year (December 21st), a shaft of sunlight enters the chamber of Newgrange through a specially designed opening over the doorway which illuminates the Chamber. On December 21st 1967, Professor MJ O'Kelly was the first person in modern times to see this now world famous event.
The passage tomb complex lies to the west of Newgrange. The large mound covers two passage tombs placed back to back which is surrounded by 127 massive kerbstones. Outside this large passage tomb there are eighteen small tombs.
Over three hundred decorated stones make up Knowth which represents the greatest concentration of Megalithic art in Western Europe. Recurring motifs on these stones include circles serpentine forms and spirals. One of the most impressive features of Knowth is the corbelled roof in the eastern tomb ascending to a massive height of almost 6m.
Dowth is the least well known of the other two although it compares in size. The mound is surrounded by a kerb of 115 stones and has two tombs facing westwards. On the 21st of December, the rays of the setting sun illuminate this passage and circular manner in manner similar to the winter solstice at Newgrange. At least thirty-eight of the stones at Dowth contain megalithic art, the circle meaning the most common motif used.
There is no access to the interior of the Dowth Mound, but visitors may still walk around the outside and admire the monument and views.
Dowth Winter Solstice Sunset (Photo: Ken Williams, Shadows and Stone Photography)
Listen to some wonderful audio on Brú na Boinne - part of the Boyne Valley Drive
- Café, gift shop/tourist information, picnic area, shuttle buses to Monuments,
- Universal access is limited at the monuments – those who require special assistance or those with mobility issues please contact us in advance of visit
- No pets – guide dogs with ID permitted
- No drones
Brú na Bóinne Visitor Centre,
Fax: +353 (0) 41 982 3071