I am not usually a great one for "tourist sites," and it was a damp, rainy day and I was not of a mood to go out. But I had a friend visiting, and by heaven, she had read about this place north of Dublin (where I was living and where I had a very comfortable spot, and a lovely pub only a couple of blocks away) and by heaven, there was nothing for it but that we were going to see this site out in the country somewhere.
I was blown away. By the beauty of the place - even in the dark and gloomy weather - and by the sense of mystery, almost sacred that surrounds this strange and (although the word is overused and mis-used today) truly awesome place.
Built before the pyramids and before Stonehenge, huge plates of rock cover over a site with tunnels and rooms. One central corridor leads to a small alcove and once a year the rising run strikes exactly down that corridor to illuminate the alcove at the end. The place is watertight - the placement of these huge plates over 5,000 years was so precise they hold today. And by the way, the nearest place these rocks could have been quarried is hundreds of miles away. If there were ever an argument for space aliens coming down and building something, this is harder to explain than are the Pyramids. The complex takes up over an acre in space, and there are two other large and similar structure and 35 or more smaller ones in the area.
I have forgotten a lot of the detail, but what I will never forget is the sense of wonder and peace that the place engendered, a true sense of the ancient civilization, a deep sense of peace and of the sacred. The cathedrals are lovely, the cliffs of nature are breath-taking, but this ancient work of ancestors remains as one of the great places in Ireland, and if I can, every time I go to Dublin, time for a visit to Newgrange is built into the schedule.