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Or quote an opening phrase from the Newgrange website itself:


‘Newgrange is a neolithic monument in the Boyne Valley, County Meath. It is the jewel in the crown of Ireland’s Ancient East.’


Then continue:


It is the best example of a Stone Age passage tomb in Ireland. It is one of several others in Brú na Bóinne, one of the most remarkable prehistoric sites in Europe.


The exact purpose of the mound is unknown. Little evidence survives, but early records describe the area as the home of the Tuatha Dé Danann, the ancient Irish gods who descended from the skies to inhabit Ireland.


In later generations it was thought to be the burial place of kings, but designs found on the stones also suggest it may relate to the movements of the sun. In other words, it may have been a kind of ancient astrological calendar.


The main body of the essay


Now that your topic has been introduced, you can begin a detailed analysis of why ‘the most impressive early tombs in Ireland were passage graves’.


Do this in separate points. Give each point a new paragraph. Use headings if you like. Leave a line between each paragraph.


Address the location, structure, function and decoration in separate points, but link back at all times to the ‘most impressive’ theme.


Give general information on Newgrange and emphasise its impressive quality. For example:


Newgrange is the best example of a Stone Age passage tomb in Ireland. The burial mound is 80m in diameter and 13m high. Over 200,000 tons of


xxii APPRECIATING ART


earth and stone were used in its construction. The people must have also had quite sophisticated boat- building skills because it is thought that the stones were quarried in Wicklow and even in the Mourne Mountains before being transported by sea and upriver.


Lead on to the next paragraph that describes the location on a hill overlooking the river (an impressive setting). Describe the bend of the River Boyne. Include a sketch showing the other tombs.


As you go on, your points can become more specific. Outline the structure and the skills of corbel vaulting, the passage, etc. Make sketches.


Continue with the function, e.g. calendar, burial site, the roof box and the winter solstice. Make sketches.


Move on to a detailed account of the decoration. Give several examples of the ‘impressive’ art found on the stones. Write about at least three in detail and make sketches.


Use words or phrases at the start of each paragraph that show your reader how it relates to the previous paragraph. Use words like however, in addition to and nevertheless.


Provide supporting evidence for each point that you make – in other words, why this is so.


Revisit the theme (‘the most impressive early tombs in Ireland were passage graves’) and find other ways to express it. This emphasises how the question is being addressed.


Briefly compare the great burial tombs to the more basic structures of the dolmen and court cairn somewhere in the body of the essay.


The conclusion Summarise the main ideas.


Finish with an interesting or thought-provoking, but relevant, comment. For example:

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