Knowth visitor centre offers rich megalithic experience

Brú na Bóinne Unesco heritage site features megalithic art and digital exhibition

A new visitor experience has opened at Knowth, the Co Meath megalithic passage grave which forms part of the Brú na Bóinne Unesco world heritage site.

It is one of the three great stone age burial mounds – Knowth, Newgrange and Dowth – dominating the 780ha site which is Ireland’s richest archaeological landscape situated at a bend in the river Boyne.

The attraction will support 266 additional jobs, significantly increase visitor numbers to the Boyne Valley and Ireland's ancient east region, and generate €1.6 million in additional tourism revenue over the next five years, according to Fáilte Ireland chief executive Paul Kelly.

Fáilte Ireland has invested almost €1.4 million in the attraction, in partnership with the National Monuments Service and the Office of Public Works which manages Knowth. It is expected to facilitate an extended tourism season.

Culturally significant

The experience tells the story of the history of the 50-year archaeological excavation of the more than 5,000 year old site by Prof George Eogan, and the significance of its megalithic art. The site contains more than half of the known megalithic art in Europe, and the burial mound's visitor hub will include a digital exhibition exploring the rock art.

"Knowth is one of the most culturally significant sites in Ireland, and indeed Europe. The new visitor experience will allow domestic and international visitors to step back in time and immerse themselves in our rich megalithic culture," said Minister for Tourism Catherine Martin.

The amenity will relieve existing pressure at the nearby Newgrange passage tomb, Mr Kelly said, “by offering visitors an additional experience, as well as extending visitor dwell time in the Boyne Valley”.

It was opened on Thursday by Ms Martin and Minister of State with responsibility for the Office of Public Works Patrick O’Donovan.

Kevin O'Sullivan

Kevin O'Sullivan

Kevin O'Sullivan is Environment and Science Editor and former editor of The Irish Times