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The Boyne Valley
The Boyne Valley is located about an hour's drive north of Dublin and contains some of the richest farmland in Ireland. The rich soil supported an advanced neolithic civilization 5000 years ago which left behind 40 prehistoric monuments including Ireland's most famous, Newgrange.
Newgrange is a passage tomb. The picture on the right shows the entrance to the tomb and the picture on the left is a close up of the carved entrance stone. On the tour of site, you are lead inside the passage to the center of the tomb which contains three chambers, all of which show carving of similar designs to the entrance stone. Above the entrance, there is a roofbox that on the winter solstice lights up the central inner chamber for just 17 minutes.
Located nearby its more famous cousin, Knowth is another impressive passage tomb. The picture on the left is of one of the many smaller burial mounds on the site. The picture on the right is one of the many carved kerbstones. The Knowth site alone has over half of all the carved megalithic stones in Ireland.
Monasterboice is an monastic site in Ireland. The high cross on the right dates from the 10th century while the stone on the left is much earlier.
Dublin is the capital of the Republic of Ireland and by far its largest city, with roughly one third the population of the entire island. The picture below is of one of the city's famous Georgian doors. Unfortunately, our visit to Dublin city center did not go well. Like any large city, Dublin has its fair share of annoyances like heavy traffic, noise, and a lack of parking. These urban annoyances have gotten noticeably worse over even just the past year as Dublin has experienced robust growth as a result of Ireland's economic boom. This robust growth unfortunately seems to be robbing the city's residents of the leisurely pace of life that previously richly fostered the city's famous charm and wit.
The highlight of a trip to Dublin in my opinion is the National Museum which contains many of the treasures found in excavations of Ireland's many prehistoric and monastic sites. The Book of Kells at Trinity College Dublin is also worth a visit.