Newgrange: Natural Inside and Out

Sunlight coming into Newgrange on the Winter Solstice

The Newgrange Neolithic Monument is incredible. I would not have guessed that it was built so long ago because of its simple and minimal design. It looks like a feat of modern architecture. The structure itself says so much about the thoughts of those who built it. They had a want to preserve and reflect nature while honoring human life and human devotion of nature. Newgrange is not wholly attempting to blend it because it is shaped as a hill rather than flat land. The builders wanted others to know the location. In Siobhan Kilfeather’s Dublin: A Cultural History, she writes a few times about, “natural features,” in Dublin shaping the way the city has grown and is thought about. It is interesting that Newgrange looks like a natural feature and was viewed as one, until the discovery of its interior. It is abundantly beautiful that people so long ago found a way to harness the beauty and energy of the sun for their own pleasure. Light was important to them. In the videos about Newgrange, the stark contrast between the sunny outside and the dark interior makes the place seem eerie, but that contract is modern. When Newgrange was built, darkness was not eerie necessarily; it just was. The inside gives me the feeling of more of a typical ancient building, if that’s possible. Even the inside of the building evokes nature because it harnesses the sun. This harnessing of the sun has more meaning because of the majority of gloomy days Kilfeather describes that Dublin has. Sitting here now on a rare rainy day in LA, I want to harness the power of the sun to give me hope and make me more energetic. I like to think that is what the people who built Newgrange had in mind also.

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