Newgrange or Belfast?

In my upcoming Ireland trip, I have the whole itinerary worked out except one aspect. I will be driving from Dublin to Portrush. Do I have time to see both Newgrange and spend a couple hours in Belfast on the way or do I need to choose? If I have to choose, which do you recommend? Thanks

Posted by Nancy
Costa Mesa, CA, USA
160 posts

Hello Adam, What time of year will you be going? If you are going in the summer the answer is "maybe" - you must have a ticket to visit Newgrange (which you buy in the visitors center and which cannot be purchased in advance - it's first come first served). Summer is quite busy so you might get on a tour or not - and there is no way of estimating how long the wait will be for the tour until you show up. When we visited a couple of years ago, I booked a tour (through a private company) in advance since it was on my "must see" list. You could certainly stop there on your way and see what the situation is regarding the tours. If a tour isn't available or within the time frame you are interested in you could just continue on to Belfast and, depending upon your other plans, stop for a bite and to stretch your legs.

Posted by Ed
9110 posts

Newgrange is just a big passage tomb. They're all over the place, so you're bound to come across another one someplace sometime. Belfast is Belfast. There's only one. Could you maybe give it a week or so?

Posted by Ken
Spring, Texas
599 posts

My wife and I really enjoyed Newgrange and Knowth. I recommend that you get there when it opens and sign up for both. Realistically, you'll not get done with both until noon or 1 pm. If it's crowded you may not get a tour of either. These are the best accessible passage tombs I know of. I'm not sure what you want to see in Belfast but I suspect you won't have time for much there if you go to Newgrange. The cost of the OPW card used to be almost totally covered by the entry fee for Newgrange and Knowth. I'm not sure about the current pricing. If things haven't changed much, the OPW card is a real bargain for seeing Ireland but you need to do the math to see if it works for you.

Posted by Bonnie
Boston, MA
116 posts

Belfast - Newgrange is interesting and I am glad I visited, but you definitely should see Belfast, like Ed mentioned, try to allot more time!

Posted by Brad
Gainesville, VA
7956 posts

If you only have a short time to visit, you should visit Newgrange. I can't imagine seeing anything in Belfast in a couple of hours.

Posted by wayner
stevens point, wi, usa
284 posts

Hi, Newgrange is nice, but the Boyne River Valley is what really draws me back. With a car you could drive by New Grange and do a little cruising in your automobile up or down the river. Plus there are a few nice historic sites along the river besides New Grange.
This river valley is where King James and William of Orange fought for a week or so. First the Catholics looked to be winning and they still celebrate that day, and then a couple days later the Protestants won. This is historic. And so you know, William of Orange is not from the Netherlands, it is William of Orange (France you know). Oh, the Orange Men. Duck ala Orange. I spent several days in Belfast years ago and didn't find it note worthy. Then my wife and I stopped for coffee on our way to the green glens of Antrim. Still not note worthy. Sorry, it is a historic city and all. But other than the documents center with the six inch maps, not worth the time. wayne iNWI

Posted by Sarah
Stuttgart, Germany
2029 posts

Pretty sure Ed's not being ironic, but rather contrary. While there are other passage tombs, Newgrange is not the oldest passage tomb, but it's one of the largest and most sophisticated, as it was part of a large complex of tombs. I was really, really glad I went during the short time I had in Dublin. Didn't make it to Belfast.

Posted by Ed
9110 posts

I was being neither contrary, sarcastic, nor sardonic. An opinion was asked for. I gave mine. Passage tombs exist by the hundreds in Scotland, Wales, England, Spain, Portugal, and France. Newgrange is arguably not the best example. Maeshowe might be. There's one within spitting distance of Stonehenge. If you just want to see something and have it semi-guess-explained to you in the course of an hour, have at it. If you want to have your heart ripped out, go to Belfast and really talk to people. Then digest it, go out and walk around, and think about the mess that used to be. Then go find the people again and pound them on the frigging back.