December 22nd is the Winter Solstice. The southernmost passage of Dowth is aligned to the setting sun of the winter solstice and the light of the low sun moves along the left side of the passage, then into the circular chamber, where three stones are lit up by the sun.
I’ve always wanted to see the Neolithic passage tombs in Ireland. I’ve seen pictures and have read about the complex of passage tombs which consist of Newgrange, Knowth and Dowth. Newgrange is Ireland’s most famous prehistoric site. As with most of the passage tombs in County Meath, Ireland, archeologists believe that it was built around 3200 B.C., which means that Newgrange predates the construction of Stonehenge in England and the Pyramids in Egypt.
As I said, I always wanted to visit. On one of my trips with my parents, we were passing by the exit on the way to Dublin. My father was driving so I reminded him that the exit to Newgrange is coming up. Tell me again what this Newgrange thing is and why do you want to go, he said. I told him what it was and that is is about 5000 years old, older then the pyramids. I guess he was a bit tired from all the driving and visiting because he passed right by the exit. I asked him why he didn’t stop. His reply was, “It’s been there for the past 5000 years it will be there the next time”. Fortunately it was there the next time but the next time things changed. Now you are not able to go and explore on your own. You have to take a bus to the location from the visitor center and take a tour. I prefer to do things on my own so we passed by Newgrange and went to Dowth.
Dowth, or the “Fairy Mound of Darkness”, dates from about 2500-2000 BC and is the 2nd oldest behind Newgrange. What I liked most is that it is less developed as a tourist attraction so I could explore on my own.