26 years after the 'Archaeological ensemble of the Bend of the Boyne or Brú na Bóinne' was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Kevin 'Boxer' Moran TD, Minister of State for the Office of Public Works (OPW) and Flood Relief and Brendan Griffin TD, Minister of State for the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport opened a new state-of-the-art Visitor Experience at the Brú na Bóinne centre.
This follows a major investment of €4.5 million by the strategic partners of Fáilte Ireland, OPW and Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht. Fáilte Ireland provided a grant of €2.6 million under the government’s Project Ireland 2040 strategy with the aim of driving sustainable growth in the Irish tourism sector and higher revenue and job creation around Ireland.
Image: Newgrange Exhibition Centre
The building on the banks of the Boyne River, near Donore in Co. Meath, has become famous as the entry point for the renowned Neolithic Passage Tomb complexes of Newgrange and Knowth.
The new immersive visitor experience will showcase the archaeological and historical heritage of Brú na Bóinne in a way that is evocative, absorbing and entertaining for visitors while increasing the capacity of visitors to the site and monuments. It will tell the story of how the Neolithic Passage Tomb at Newgrange was constructed around 3,200 BC, and the way it aligns with the rising sun at the time of the Winter Solstice on 21 December. New information on the immensely rich archaeological landscape of the World Heritage Site around Newgrange will also be brought to life at the centre for the first time, with exciting discoveries made during the summer of 2018 which have since been investigated by the National Monuments Service.
The new exhibition at Brú na Bóinne was created by EVENT and advised by an expert team led by Emeritus Professor Muiris Ó Súilleabháin, UCD, with assistance from Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht’s National Monuments Service, Fáílte Ireland and the OPW.
The building project involved the complete internal refurbishment of the building, replacing flooring, ceilings and electrical systems and providing a refurbished café and kitchen environment to sustain a suitable dining experience for future visitors.
The investment made in the Brú na Bóinne Centre is one element of an investment being made in the World Heritage Site under a strategic partnership arrangement and investment programme between the Department of Culture Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Fáilte Ireland and the OPW. A parallel visitor experience project has also been developed at the nearby Knowth passage tomb complex, which is also managed by the OPW and will be opened officially in the New Year. Further works are also planned at the site of the Newgrange passage tomb itself and these will be delivered later in 2020.