A brand-new visitor experience has just opened at Brú Na Bóinne, the entry point for a popular tourist destination in Ireland—Newgrange.
Brú Na Bóinne at Newgrange in County Meath, which is one of the most historical places in Ireland, has been given an impressive makeover with a new “state of the art” experience through the gateway leading to the Neolithic passage tombs.
Since March 2019, extensive work has been done to renew the visitor centre and bring the exhibition up to date on all relative information and any new findings.
The interactive path takes visitors along assimilation of the River Boyne, following the story of the construction of the passage tomb around 3,200 BC and its winter solstice alignment.
‘A sensory experience’
The new experience leads visitors through the daily life of the Neolithic residents of Ireland via an “immersive river journey” and a detailed exhibition of some of the people’s earliest artwork.
Archaeological findings discovered by aerial surveys around Newgrange during the summer drought of 2018 will also be brought to life via the new display.
Visitors will continue along the path before reaching the infamous tombs of Newgrange and Knowth, constructed before Stonehenge and the Great Pyramid of Giza.
Brú Na Bóinne manager, Clare Tuffy, is very excited about the new experience at the visitor centre.
In an interview with the Irish Times, she says, “People will feel as though they are going right back into Neolithic times.
“It’s really sensational and fully immersive,” she adds.
One of Ireland’s Seven Wonders
The monument at Newgrange is a passage tomb in the Boyne Valley surrounded by 97 kerbstones, some of which are engraved with megalithic art.
The 19-meter-long passage leads into a chamber with three alcoves, all of which are aligned with the rising sun at the Winter Solstice.
Built by Stone Age farmers over 5,000 years ago to bury the dead and honour their ancestors, Newgrange has been named among Ireland’s Seven Wonders.
Since opening in 1997, Brú Na Bóinne Visitor Centre has welcomed over five million visitors to Newgrange.
Fáilte Ireland CEO Paul Kelly acknowledges the importance of the site and the continued development of the centre.
He says, “It’s incredibly important that we build and develop visitor attractions to give overseas tourists compelling reasons to visit Ireland.
“Tourism is a highly competitive business and we need to continue to innovate in order to stand out in the international marketplace.”
The exciting new exhibition was created by EVENT and advised by a team of experts led by Emeritus Professor Muiris Ó Súilleabháin of University College Dublin.
Fáilte Ireland, the Office of Public Works and the National Monuments Service also worked in collaboration to assist the project.
It was a challenging time, considering visitor access was kept open throughout the development, but entry to the monuments was free to compensate for any disruption.
Clare Tuffy says, “We are really interested to see what our visitors think of that [the sensory experience]. For us, we really enjoyed making it.”
The Knowth passage tomb site has also undergone a revamp with a parallel visitor experience opening in the New Year.
Further developments at the Newgrange passage tomb site have been agreed to start later in the year with the OPW confirming the pending works.