I'm going on a May 2008 RS tour of Ireland. Because the tour no longer covers Newgrange, I am trying to get there myself before the tour starts. Has anyone used Over the Top Tours' Newgrange Shuttle Bus (http://www.visitnewgrange.com/) from Dublin? The shuttle bus gets you there, but it's not clear whether you're sure to get in, or if you are at the mercy of all the other tour buses. If you've had personal experience with this (or have other ideas) I would love them, thanks!
At Newgrange when you buy your ticket you're given a sticker with a color and time on it. At the given time, you cross the bridge and go to the bus center to find the bus with your color on it. The earlier you get to Newgrange, the earlier your time to go to the site. It's conceiveable that if you go too late in the day, they could have already given out that day's times. May won't be quite as busy as June or July, but I'd get there as early as possible to minimize the chances of busloads of people getting there before you.
I took the Bus Eireann tour in May of this year. It goes to two monastic ruins and then to Newgrange and I found it very enjoyable. You are assured of entrance into the chamber at Newgrange. I do not remember what the cost was but it seemed very reasonable.
We went with Mary Gibbons Tours a couple years ago. It was pretty much all day, and covered Hill of Tara as well as Newgrange. She does the narration herself, and it was wonderful. Sit near the front of her van, if possible. I highly recommend it. Along with the Rock of Cashell, they were my favorite sites on our Ireland trip.
Agree with prior post about the logistics at Newgrange, unless it has changed since 2003.
My understanding from arriving at Newgrange about the same time as the tour buses was that they have tickets for entry when they get there. I don't think their business would be very successful if their customers dedicated a day to their itinerary and didn't get in! We too loved Newgrange and Knowth. The entire Boyne valley is beautiful and the thought of being on such an old site is always exciting to my travel.
My cousin and aunt took a 10-day bus tour of Ireland a couple of years ago, and were to visit Newgrange. When they got there, though, they couldn't go in. Apparently they had arrived too late for that day, and were leaving the area following the visit. While I think that tour buses must have some sort of arrangement, too, apparently it doesn't always work out. Obviously, they couldn't make people who were already waiting step aside for a late-arriving tour bus. So I still believe that the key is arriving early, whatever method you use to get there.
Just a little humor... When I went to Newgrange for the first time in 1995. My family had tickets to the last tour of the day. Anyway, I was the last one to go into the chamber and the first to exit. I never before thought that small spaces bothered me.... but....ohh.... my family still tease me about how I rushed out of the chamber! I don't know why I didn't think it was that small inside.
Whatever you do CL... you gotta see & expierence Newgrange!