Brú na Bóinne, Ancient mansions of Boyne!

Since we Sisters have a tini tiny obsession with visiting the UNESCO World Heritage sites, I couldnt let myself go out of Ireland without visiting Brú na Bóinne. When I was doing my research on UNESCO World Heritage sites in Ireland I came across ample of them but what caught my attention was this 5,000 year old prehistoric monument which is set on the banks of river Boyne and it said that these were older than the pyramids in Egypt (400 years older). Although I have not visited the pyramids yet, I though lets start with the older one, the Brú na Bóinne.

Brú na Bóinne means a mansion or a palace on the bend of the river Boyne, which is well known for its three prehistoric burial sites and megalithic art at Newgrange, Knowth and Dowth.  Structures such as large passage tombs, mounds, standing stones, henges were found from Neolithic (5,000 years old) or late stone age period along with additional 90 monuments around this area, although traces of human settlement has been recorded here since 6,000 years. These structures not only display their knowledge in architecture and rituals and beliefs but also shows their interest in engineering, art and astronomy. Hence, these sites have archaeoastronomical significance where passage tombs of Newgrange and Dowth are built to have winter solstice solar alignments and one at Knowth was built oriented towards spring and autumn equinox.

With all these information from the Google, me and my husband set off early morning from Dublin as it was mentioned in their website that the tours have limited tickets, which cannot be purchased online and is sold only at the Visitor center on first come first served basis. Like I had mentioned in my earlier Ireland posts, we were blessed to have beautiful sunny days through out our trip. Call it our luck or not, even though it was a busy summer day at the Visitor center we got the tour tickets for that early afternoon and we had to wait only for 60 mins for it to commence. So, we opted to walk around the Exhibition center and it had an excellent collection of information about the sites and gave us a brief insight about the place.

The guided tours are conducted by taking the visitors in the shuttle buses, accessible only from the Visitor center which takes us from here to Newgrange and Knowth which are kilometers apart. There is a short walk from the Visitor center towards the shuttle bus and its one the most scenic views I had walked where we pass over a pedestrian bridge on river Boyne surrounded by nothing but lush greenery.

Brú na Bóinne tour, Ireland, World heritage site, ancient mansion of Boyne

Gorgeous landscape on the banks of river Boyne

Brú na Bóinne tour, Ireland, World heritage site, ancient mansion of Boyne

View on the other side of the bridge

Brú na Bóinne tour, Ireland, World heritage site, ancient mansion of Boyne

Brú na Bóinne tour, Ireland, World heritage site, ancient mansion of Boyne

Since we choose to visit only Knowth, we arrived at our destination in about 15 minutes and we were ushered to walk inside a compounded walk. And there I got the first glimpse of the historic tombs. We followed our guide around this site till the end of our tour.

Brú na Bóinne tour, Ireland, World heritage site, ancient mansion of Boyne

First glimpse of the prehistoric mounds

Brú na Bóinne tour, Ireland, World heritage site, ancient mansion of Boyne

Brú na Bóinne tour, Ireland, World heritage site, ancient mansion of Boyne

Satellite mounds

Brú na Bóinne tour, Ireland, World heritage site, ancient mansion of Boyne

Kerb stones lining the bigger mound

The excavation work at Knowth started in 1962 by the archaeologist George Eogan and his team who discovered the great works and the charms of ancient civilization which once dwelled here. The excavators also discovered that this site was only used by the original builders to perform their religious and other rituals.

Knowth has one large mound (measuring 12 m (40 ft) in high, 67 m (220 ft) in diameter), which has two passage tombs one with the entrance facing east and the other west and 18 smaller satellite mounds around it. The two passage ways on the bigger mound are built in astronomical alignment with the sun on equinox days. This larger mound is surrounded by 124 kerb stones and some on these has ancient inscriptions with circular and spiral chiseled markings on it.

Brú na Bóinne tour, Ireland, World heritage site, ancient mansion of Boyne

Brú na Bóinne tour, Ireland, World heritage site, ancient mansion of Boyne

Chiseled markings on the herb stones

Brú na Bóinne tour, Ireland, World heritage site, ancient mansion of Boyne

Brú na Bóinne tour, Ireland, World heritage site, ancient mansion of Boyne

Western entrance of the largest mound

Brú na Bóinne tour, Ireland, World heritage site, ancient mansion of Boyne

Sand stone pillar outside the western entrance

Over the millennia Knowth has gone through enormous changes, during the 8th century it was the protected settlement for the royal residence for the Brega kingdom. Sometime during 10th and 11th century small villages emerged around this under this kingdom and it continued until the arrival of the Cistercians and the Normans in the 12th century. But during the earlier years of Christianity, Knowth was used as a defense site where the residents had dug two ditches around the mounds.

Brú na Bóinne tour, Ireland, World heritage site, ancient mansion of Boyne

View of green valleys and meadows

Brú na Bóinne tour, Ireland, World heritage site, ancient mansion of Boyne

Brú na Bóinne tour, Ireland, World heritage site, ancient mansion of Boyne

Wooden henges near the eastern entrance

After a brief touring and imparting information by our guide we were allowed to enter the bigger mound through eastern entrance and we walked through the narrow tunnels till we reached a small hall. I couldn’t stop myself from getting that eerie feeling as we were standing inside an ancient tomb.

Brú na Bóinne tour, Ireland, World heritage site, ancient mansion of Boyne

Tunnel inside the eastern entrance

Brú na Bóinne tour, Ireland, World heritage site, ancient mansion of Boyne

Brú na Bóinne tour, Ireland, World heritage site, ancient mansion of Boyne

After existing this mound we climbed on top of it and the area on top looked shockingly humongous and the view was absolutely stunning. We spent few minutes on top before we left back to the Visitor center.

Brú na Bóinne tour, Ireland, World heritage site, ancient mansion of Boyne

View of Newgrange from the top of the largest mound

Brú na Bóinne tour, Ireland, World heritage site, ancient mansion of Boyne

Visiting one of the Ireland’s ancient, ritual landscape was absolutely an awe-inspiring experience and I would highly recommend it. This would be an ideal day trip from Dublin as it is only 50 kilometers north-west from the Dublin city

For more information of this please visit their site here.

Hope you guys enjoyed reading our post, do leave us a comment on your thoughts on this ancient place!

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52 Comments

  1. May 3, 2017    

    Fascinating place and history. Never heard of it. Again amazed at how much there is to see and discover out there.

    • 2travellingsisters 2travellingsisters
      May 4, 2017    

      Thank you Chaitali! According to me this is the most underrated heritage site of Ireland! Thats the reason this is not very famous among the visitors and tourists…

  2. May 4, 2017    

    I haven’t been here but it looks really amazing. Your pictures show it really well and those mounds look super interesting. I would be fascinated by them the whole time haha. Looks like you had a blast

    • 2travellingsisters 2travellingsisters
      May 4, 2017    

      Thank you Natasha, I was very curious and exciting to know actually what this was and how it was used.. 😉

  3. May 4, 2017    

    Whoa. I love exploring pre historic sites. I have seen some of the most amazing pre historic places in India and Jordan. I didn’t know Ireland also houses such sites. This place looks mysterious and eerie.

    • 2travellingsisters 2travellingsisters
      May 4, 2017    

      Yeah, standing inside one of the burial chamber was bit spooky! 😉

  4. May 4, 2017    

    I can’t believe I’ve never heard of this place before. And it’s older than the pyramids! What I wouldn’t give to have stumbled on these and walked through them as the first person in thousands of years.

  5. May 5, 2017    

    What a beautiful place! Love visiting ancient places like this, always so picturesque! 🙂

    • 2travellingsisters 2travellingsisters
      May 13, 2017    

      That’s true Katie! 🙂

  6. May 5, 2017    

    love that you have this obsession, so unique! I make it a point to visit UNESCO whenever possible but to actively chase after it is so intriguing. What a complex way to conduct burials. At first glance it’s really nothing much to see but wow, to know now that the passage ways are built in astronomical alignment with the sun on equinox days is no small feat! Very impressive and interesting to know.

    • 2travellingsisters 2travellingsisters
      May 13, 2017    

      Totally agree with you Judy, there is nothing much to see but the mysteries and the facts that ancient place holds is truly intriguing…

  7. These are massive mounds. I’d definitely want to visit this with my friends. They did not look interesting at first but then I got intrigued when I saw the photos of the tunnel. It looks mysterious and eerie.

    • 2travellingsisters 2travellingsisters
      May 14, 2017    

      That’s true, from outside it just looks like a normal mound but the stories and mysteries is what attracts the tourists here…:)

  8. May 5, 2017    

    Seems like an interesting location to add to the bucket of ‘places nearby Dublin’. Thank you and excellent pics too! 😀

    • 2travellingsisters 2travellingsisters
      May 14, 2017    

      Yeah, its just couple of hours from Dublin so you can visit this place as a day trip 🙂

  9. May 5, 2017    

    Amazing landscape! Indeed, there’s so much to explore in this world!

    • 2travellingsisters 2travellingsisters
      May 14, 2017    

      Totally agree without Ann!

  10. May 5, 2017    

    Really interesting, and I love the pictures in the tunnels. I also have a love of UNESCO sites, so I totally understand. 😀

    • 2travellingsisters 2travellingsisters
      May 14, 2017    

      Thank you Meg! 🙂

  11. May 6, 2017    

    Gorgeous landscapes! It looks like a very interesting natural destination to discover!

    • 2travellingsisters 2travellingsisters
      May 14, 2017    

      Yes, since its prehistorical site its filled with very interesting facts…

  12. May 6, 2017    

    I love UNESCO sites too! They’re always so amazing. IT looks like Brú na Bóinne has so much cultural significance! I really like the herb stones with markings on them!

    • 2travellingsisters 2travellingsisters
      May 14, 2017    

      Then you would love this place Alice..:)

  13. May 6, 2017    

    Seems quite an interesting location, pretty picturesque. 🙂 Amazing clicks!

    • 2travellingsisters 2travellingsisters
      May 14, 2017    

      Thank you so much Maitreni 🙂

  14. May 6, 2017    

    What and interesting and intriguing site. I’m guessing that those mounds are uniquely part of Ireland and one of a kind structures. 40 ft high x 220 wide mound?? That’s freakin enormous! It’s a pretty impressive piece of history and hopefully I’ll get to check it out when in Ireland!

    • 2travellingsisters 2travellingsisters
      May 14, 2017    

      Yes, these mounds are surprisingly humongous…

  15. May 6, 2017    

    Wow what an amazing place! Would love to visit it one day!

    • 2travellingsisters 2travellingsisters
      May 14, 2017    

      You have Annika, its very beautiful…

  16. May 6, 2017    

    Wow what an informative and detailed post. Thank you for that! It’s very useful 🙂

    • 2travellingsisters 2travellingsisters
      May 14, 2017    

      Thank you Alex! 🙂

  17. BrianTheAfricanNomad BrianTheAfricanNomad
    May 7, 2017    

    I have been to a few UNESCO heritage sites I love this one hope I will get to see it when I visit thanks for sharing and those are beautiful photos I love your blog its well detailed

    • 2travellingsisters 2travellingsisters
      May 14, 2017    

      Thank you so much Brian…:)

  18. May 7, 2017    

    Coming from the Northern Ireland, the Boyne has got EXTREMELY important and indeed divisive political connotations up here and there is no way of mentioning it without getting into a debate. Nevertheless, it is easy to forget the beauty that can be found there, something quite evident from your photos. You certainly seem to have got some atypically good Irish weather for your visit!

    • 2travellingsisters 2travellingsisters
      May 20, 2017    

      Thank you Gareth! yes, we were quite lucky with the weather otherwise the pictures would not have been so good..:)

  19. May 7, 2017    

    I had not heard of this UNESCO world heritage before. It looks gorgeous and so peaceful. I would love to visit here. Hope to visit soon

    • 2travellingsisters 2travellingsisters
      May 20, 2017    

      This is quite underrated, even we dint know about this place until I was looking for UNESCO heritage sites in Ireland and yeah, you should not miss this if you are in Dublin! 🙂

  20. May 8, 2017    

    What an astonishing place. I like the you have covered the place in detail and with photos. I had never heard of this place but I now want to go there asap. 🙂

    • 2travellingsisters 2travellingsisters
      May 20, 2017    

      Thank you so much Nisha! 🙂

  21. Chiara Chiara
    May 8, 2017    

    Wow. I love exploring pre historic sites. I have seen some great ones around the globe but I didn’t know they could also be found in ireland. This place looks soo mysterious.

    • 2travellingsisters 2travellingsisters
      May 20, 2017    

      Yes, it is…:)

  22. Jean Jean
    May 8, 2017    

    What a fascinating place to explore. These photos are simply stunning. So much green!

    I too love visiting Word Heritage sites. So much history to indulge yourself in.

    • 2travellingsisters 2travellingsisters
      May 20, 2017    

      So true Jean! 🙂

  23. May 9, 2017    

    I find your obsession to visit UNESCO heritage sites inspiring. We share the same fascination.The ancient mansions of Boyne look so intriguing. At the same time in spite of its antiquity, the place looks so beautiful. The view from the top is lovely. This place is indeed a revelation as I was not aware of it. You have piqued my interest and I will do some research on the place.

    • 2travellingsisters 2travellingsisters
      May 20, 2017    

      Thank you so much Sandy! 🙂

  24. Joanna Joanna
    May 9, 2017    

    I didn’t hear about this Unesco place before reading your post. It reminds me a little bit of the story of Stonehenge. In the audio guides you hear about similar types of mounds but with an unknown purpose. The ones in Ireland might be related, who knows.

    • 2travellingsisters 2travellingsisters
      May 20, 2017    

      Yes, might be..:)

  25. May 10, 2017    

    Pre historic are always mysterious and fascinating to explore places like these. Nice to see the site being maintained well.

    • 2travellingsisters 2travellingsisters
      May 20, 2017    

      Thats true, its being maintained well..:)

  26. May 13, 2017    

    The place looks beautiful and I can identify with the eerie feeling inside the tunnel!

    • 2travellingsisters 2travellingsisters
      May 20, 2017    

      Yeah, it was cold and dark inside and I couldn’t stop thinking that once this was the burial place… :p

  27. June 17, 2017    

    Amazing! To think what all Human civilization has gone through…

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