Bru na Boinne (English: “Palace of the Boyne”) is an internationally important complex of Neolithic chamber tombs, standing stones, henges and other prehistoric enclosures located in a wide meander of the River Boyne in Ireland.
Understand : The Bru Na Boinne Visitor Centre acts as a gateway to the Bru Na Boinne Archaeological Park for visitors from all over the world and is the starting point for all visits to the archaeological sites of Newgrange and Knowth. It is administered by the Office of Public Works and Heritage Ireland. Newgrange is also on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Access to the other sites in the Bru na Boinne Archaeological Park is limited. The Dowth site is open to the public direct from the road, but there is only limited access to the southern chamber (during the Winter Solstice alignment) and no access to the northern passage and chamber. Many of the satellite sites are on private land and, therefore, access is extremely restricted and requires permission from the landowners.
Access : Coordinates: 53.694369, -6.475031 / By car : From Dublin, take the M1 towards Drogheda. From the west take the N52 via Navan/Slane. On both routes follow the brown/white signage for the Visitor Centre and not for Newgrange Farm. The Visitor Centre is located west of the village of Donore, County Meath. This tends to cause some confusion among visitors, as the Bru na Boinne Visitor Centre is on the south side of the river Boyne, whereas the sites are on the north side of the river.
By train : Take a train to Drogheda, then take a local bus from the bus station (see below) a 15-min walk from the train station. Drogheda is well served by direct intercity and commuter services from Belfast and Dublin. By bus : From Dublin, take the Bus Eireann No. 100X bus to Drogheda from Busaras bus station. One-way tickets cost €8 for adults, day-return €13. From Belfast take the BE service from the Europa Buscentre to Drogheda. From Drogheda take the Bus Eireann No. 163 bus from the bus station to the Visitor Centre near Donore.
Get around : All access to the Newgrange and Knowth sites is by guided tour only and all tours begin at the Visitor Centre. Anyone arriving directly at the sites will be redirected to the Bru na Boinne Visitor Centre, where they are placed on the next available tour. Visitors cross the river via a footbridge at the Visitor Centre and are brought by shuttle bus to the sites. Due to the small interior of the sites, places are limited to a maximum of 700 per day, which can fill up quickly – particularly during summer months. Tours are sold on a first come, first serve basis and so visitors are advised to arrive early
Attractions : 1 Visitor Centre, Donore (2 km west of Donore village, on the south side river Boyne), ? +353 41 988 0300. Open daily: Feb-Apr: 09:30-17:30, May: 09:00-18:30, Jun-mid Sep: 09:00-19:00, mid-end Sep: 09:00-18:30, Oct: 09:30-17:30, Nov-Jan: 09:00-17:00. Knowth is open only from Mar 25 to Nov 2. Last admission to Visitor Centre: 45 min before closing. Last tour of monuments 1h 45min before closing. The Visitor Centre houses a large interactive exhibition on the Bru na Boinne area, an audio-visual presentation, a wheelchair accessible replica of the interior of the passage and chamber at Newgrange. It also has a tourist office, gift shop and tea rooms. There is a large car park and a picnic area at the Visitor Centre. There is no left luggage facility. The Visitor Centre exhibition, audio-visual presentation, return shuttle bus to either site and full guided tour are all included in the entry fee. Visitor Centre (VC): adults €3. VC + Newgrange: adults €6. VC + Knowth: adults €5. VC + Newgrange + Knowth: adults €11.
2 Newgrange. Visitors have access to the chamber at Newgrange. No photography or filming is allowed in the chamber. Duration of the tour is about 1 hr.
3 Knowth. There is only very limited access to the eastern passage of Knowth and visitors may only look down it – there is no access to either passage or chamber. Duration of the tour is about 1h
Activities : Enter the annual Solstice lottery for a place in the chamber of Newgrange on the winter solstice (21 December).
Visit Newgrange on the Winter Solstice in order to witness the rising sun alignment (weather permitting). Access to the site is allowed, but only winners of the annual solstice lottery and other guests are allowed access to the chamber.
Visit Dowth on the Winter Solstice in order to witness the setting sun alignment (weather permitting). No lottery applies – usually the assembled people take turns inside the chamber.