Proof that Romans were regular visitors to Newgrange and left offerings at the site.

In a quiet corner of the National Museum of Ireland on Kildare Street lies a unique display of artefacts discovered at the Neolithic passage tomb at Newgrange (Brú na Boinne) County Meath. This collection of jewellery and coins indicates the possibility of a Roman shrine there in the pre-Christian era.

It also indicates that the Romans were indeed present here in Ireland, a place beyond the western borders of the Roman Empire. These coins would have been deposited here as votive offerings when visitors came to Newgrange for worship in the 4th century AD says Raghnall Ó Floinn, Head of Collections at the National Museum of Ireland.

What we have here in Ireland is a unique example of a late Roman cult site.

Newgrange as we know it today looked quite different all those centuries ago explains Clare Tuffy of the OPW (Office of Public Works) but it was still considered to be a sacred space for the people who lived on this island.

Superstition and stories would have told people informed people that it was a special place.

The Great Stone Circle at Newgrange seems to have had a particular spiritual importance for Roman pilgrims, as this is where the deposits were found. So who left them?

The people who came here to pray and make offerings were a small select group which had the means to do so, says Raghnall Ó Floinn, and most likely were people from Roman Britain or

Romanised Britons who had been steeped in Roman tradition, or else perhaps Irish people who perhaps worked as auxiliaries in the armies of the empire.

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 1 May 2006. The reporter is Richard Dowling.