Bend of the Boyne or Brú na Bóinne in Ireland is home to several important prehistoric landscapes that go as far back as the Neolithic period. The area, also known as the Mansion of the Boyne, and the Palace of the Boyne is located in Ireland’s County Meath in a bend of the River Boyne. The prehistoric landscapes include the Megalithic passage graves of Newgrange, Dowth, and Knowth. It is also home to 90 monuments. Starting in 1993, Brú na Bóinne was named a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The Brú na Bóinne is found 31 miles North of the city of Dublin, Ireland’s capital.
5. Description and History -
Prehistoric monuments and art are well preserved at this site on the Boyne River 31 miles north of Dublin. Brú na Bóinne is surrounded southward, eastward, and westward by the River Boyne, with the Mattock, one of the Boyne’s tributaries flowing along the Northern edge, to the point of almost utterly surrounding Brú na Bóinne with water. Though human settlement in the center is estimated to have existed for at least 6,000 years, the structures and monuments in Brú na Bóinne date to approximately 5,000 years ago, that is from the Neolithic period. Older than the pyramids, the site displays a sophisticated understanding of science and astronomy. It comprises Neolithic standing stones, chamber tombs, henges, and mounds.
4. Tourism -
Brú na Bóinne’s Visitor Centre, which was opened to the public in 1977 is charged with managing the inflow of visitors to the megalithic tombs. Also, the Visitor Centre strives to educate the public, raising their awareness, and trying to increase local engagement. In a bid to ensure the monuments’ protection, the center limits the number of people visiting each day. Access to Newgrange and Knowth is only by formal tours from the Visitor Centre. However, the public has not been granted access to the tombs themselves.
3. Uniqueness -
With its three famous, large passage tombs of Knowth, and Newgrange, and Dowth, along with the other 90 monuments, Brú na Bóinne is regarded as one of the most important and celebrated archaeological complexes, whether in scale, or in the density of the monuments, or in the material evidence accompanying the monuments. The passage tomb Knowth has assembled within it, the largest quantity of megalithic art in Western Europe.
2. Nature, Sights, and Sounds -
The area is surrounded to the west, south, and east by the River Boyne, and towards the Northern edge by the Mattock, which is a tributary of the Boyne. In addition to the three most important passage tombs, other sites at Brú na Bóinne include henges from the Bronze Age, burnt mounds, cist, and ring ditch burials, burials from the Iron Age, coins and jewelry from the Roman period, among other artefacts. Other ceremonial sites found in the complex include Newgrange Cursus, Townleyhall Passage Grave, Monknewtown henge and ritual pond, and Cloghalea Henge.
1. Threats and Conservation -
There are several Natural Heritage Areas that make up Brú na Bóinne and its Boyne River Islands provide the few instances of alluvial wet woodland in Ireland, thus making it a priority habitat according to the EU Habitat Directive. Recognizing its universal value, UNESCO inscribed it a World Heritage Site in 1993. A variety of national laws and statutes and international guidelines dictate the protection and conservation criteria for the Brú na Bóinne; these include Ireland’s Wildlife Acts of 1976 and 2000, and several EU directives and international charters. However, only 32 hectares of the total 780 hectares that comprise the site’s surface area is owned by the state, with the bulk of ownership being private.