The Newgrange folly - made from Newgrange stone, but for what purpose?

The Newgrange folly - made from Newgrange stone, but for what purpose?

I recently shared two photos of the interior of a stone building and asked if any of you knew what it was. There were lots of good guesses, and a few bad ones, but some of you did indeed guess correctly. The building was the 'Newgrange folly'. This is a stone construction of unknown date, presumed to belong to some time in the past two centuries or so. It may have been an ice house, as it has a doorway that faces towards the north, and is located on the northeastern slope just 30m from the Newgrange monument.
The interior of the Newgrange 'Folly'
The interior of the Newgrange 'Folly' looking towards the entrance.
It is referred to as a "folly" (i.e. a building with no particular purpose) and is presumed to have been built some time in the 18th or 19th century. It features two circular windows and an arched doorway.
Various theories have been put forward about its purpose, including that it might have served as an ice house or that it was some sort of masonic structure. However, the much more prosaic consensus among archaeologists is that it is simply "one of the 'follies' beloved of landlords in a more spacious age" (Claire O'Kelly).
The inside of the Newgrange 'Folly'
The inside of the Newgrange 'Folly' taken from just inside the entrance.
It was almost certainly made from stone which had fallen off the great cairn of Newgrange and was scattered around the immediate vicinity. Some follies were built merely as status symbols, while others were constructed in order to employ starving peasants during times of famine. Stuart Barton in 'Monumental Follies' describes follies as "foolish monuments to greatness and great monuments to foolishness".
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Anthony Murphy is the author of ten books, including works of non-fiction and fiction. As of 2024, all of these books are in print or available for digital download.