The Hill of Uisneach in County Westmeath is an area of significant importance to ancient Ireland as it is here that the mythological and sacred centre of Ireland is located. It is here at Uisneach where the ancient five provinces of Ireland once met, and at this point, the mythological burial site of the Earth Goddess Ériu of whom Ireland is named after.
The highlight for many visitors to the Hill of Uisneach today is Aill na Mireann (or Catstone), which is the point at which the five ancient provinces met, and the location for the inauguration of many ancient High Kings of Ireland.
The summit of the hill is 600ft above sea level and is said that on a good day you can see some 20 counties in Ireland, taking in all four existing provinces.
Every year around May time, a fire was lit on Uisneach as a symbol of the coming of summer, and the signal for fires to be lit across Ireland. This tradition of a celebration of fire continues today with the Bealtaine Fire Celebration taking place every year.
Guided tours of Uisneach run every Saturday and last about 2 hours, allowing you take in a real slice of Irish history and a landscape that played a central role in ancient Ireland, in more ways than one. For many, the centre of modern Ireland is Athlone Town, and today it’s just a short 30-minute drive from Hill of Uisneach, with Athlone Castle among the many popular attractions to see in the area.