When I first lived in Ireland, my husband-to-be and I rented a 300-year old farmhouse in the Boyne Valley within an area known as the Brú na Bóinne Archaeological Ensemble. Quite the mouthful. Locals call it the Bend in the Boyne and although it’s a World Heritage Site, it’s still one of Ireland’s best kept secrets.
It’s also the very place where the Tuatha Dé Danann, the old deities of Ireland, are said to be based. Possibly a result of the forty passage graves located within the Bend in the Boyne, including three absolutely massive ones, namely: Newgrange, Knowth and Dowth.
Embracing all three is the River Boyne, named after Bóann, the Goddess of the White Cow (and the mother of Óenghus).
Newgrange is the home of one Óenghus Óg (also Angus Oge, Aenghus Óg and Aenghus Mac in Óg), the Irish god of Youth, Love and Light. Newgrange has one passageway aligned to the midwinter sunrise.
This is an amazing site that I’ve been visiting for nearly twenty years and will post more on soon.
Knowth, although less prominent is more archaeologically intriguing. It contains about a third of Europe’s megalithic art.
Knowth has two passageways, aligned to the spring and autumn equinoxes (although there is some claim it might to lunar events close to these equinoxes). Knowth is thought to derive from Cnoc Buí (Cnogba) which would translate as Yellow Hill. It’s impossible as an English speaker, however, to miss the connotation Knowth has with the word Knowledge.
Interestingly, it has associations with a goddess. (More on this later!)
Lastly, but not least—never least—is Dowth. The most mysterious of the mounds. In Irish, Dowth is Dubhadh or Darkness. The mythology associated with the site is a tale of a king and his sister, of incest, and the manipulation of time. Dowth has two passageways, aligned to the midwinter sunrise and sunset.