Nancy Axelrod  

Newgrange passage tomb, Ireland by Nancy Axelrod

June 2024 - Newgrange passage tomb, Ireland

June 2024 - Nancy Axelrod


About the Image(s)

I have just returned from an archeology-themed tour of Ireland. Shown here is the Newgrange passage tomb in the Royal County of Meath, Ireland. [The following description is taken from Wikipedia]. This enormous Neolithic tomb (249 ft long, 39 ft. high) was erected in about 3200 BCE. It consists of a large circular mound with an inner stone passageway and cruciform chamber, in which were found burnt and unburnt human bones and possible grave goods or votive offerings. The striking facade is made mostly of white quartz cobblestones. Although its purpose is not known definitively, it is believed to have had religious significance. It is aligned so the rising sun on the winter solstice shines through a “roof box” above the entrance (the entrance is shown here at the right side of the image) and floods the inner chamber. Our guide recreated the effect in the darkened chamber. It caused goosebumps to be raised! The original period of use lasted about 1,000 years, although this area continued to be a site of ritual activity. It is featured in Irish mythology and folklore and is said to be a dwelling of the deities. Newgrange has been “unhesitantly regarded by prehistorians as the great national monument of Ireland” and is one of the most important megalithic structures in Europe. The yellow flowers in front are buttercups, which were flourishing throughout the countryside.

Sony a6400 camera (APS-C) with 18-104mm lens at 23mm (35mm equivalent), f/11, 1/4000”, ISO 5000. I don’t remember why I used such outlandish settings. As I remember, the sky (which unfortunately lacked any interesting features) was rather dark. However, the picture turned out OK! I made very few adjustments in post, just a slight increase in contrast and changing the dimensions to be 16x9.

Shown in the auxiliary photo is a kerbstone at the entrance that is engraved with large spirals, a striking example of megalithic art.

This round’s discussion is now closed!
6 comments posted

Michele Borgarelli   Michele Borgarelli
Nancy, I hope you enjoyed your archeological trip. I am sure it has been fascinating to visit these kind of sites that have always some mystery.
Regarding your image, I think the amount of foreground make the tomb small and almost lost in the landscape. Reading the historical notes (thank you for providing them) this is a massive monument and maybe a tighter crop could make it more prominent. The yellow flower add a nice layer to the image. Interesting to see the entrance.

Kind regards

Michele   Posted: 06/17/2024 22:45:29

Sherry Weinstein
Nancy, while the historic importance of this huge tomb is most interesting, I'm afraid that w/out the story behind it, the photo itself doesn't tell a story or please the eyes. I know what a good photographer you are but think this one doesn't measure up to your own standard;^((   Posted: 06/18/2024 00:40:19

Nancy Axelrod   Nancy Axelrod
A word of explanation: The Newgrange Passage Tomb would be instantly recognizable by anyone who is familiar with Ireland and its history. For those who are unfamiliar with this topic - as I was before this trip - I've posted this photo as an incentive to visit Ireland. This and the three other types of Irish passage tombs predate the Great pyramids of Egypt and Stonehenge!   Posted: 06/18/2024 13:43:30

Adrian Binney   Adrian Binney
Hello Nancy -I don't think this picture shows off this interesting site to hold interest for long I'm afread. Michele is right: there is too much foreground to get our eyes to the subject.   Posted: 06/21/2024 12:54:11
Nancy Axelrod   Nancy Axelrod
One of the interesting features of the passage tombs in Ireland is that they are located in isolated regions rather than in the middle of, or near to, settlements. As important religious/ritual sites, the prominent locations, often at the top of a distant hill, emphasize their significance to the community. The importance of these sites does not lie in their architecture, so I don't think a more close up view would add much to the understanding of them. Modern day scholars marvel at how these rather "primitive" peoples, who lacked sophisticated technologies, were able to transport the building materials over such large distances to the building site. Perhaps I should have included a human being for a size reference.   Posted: 06/21/2024 23:26:00
Adrian Binney   Adrian Binney
No I am very sure you're right that to communicate to …..let us call an interest audience for these tombs or religious matters, then the story of them being positioned on or near hill tops with clear line of sight to them has to come out in your photography of them. But to a general travel audience, they won't see or probably understand the issues your communicating Nancy.   Posted: 06/22/2024 00:58:40