We visited the Hill of Uisneach in Westmeath in the midlands of Ireland. We got a guided tour of the Hill of Uisneach as it is Heritage week, we also got an archaeological lecture with Dr Roseanne Schot from University College Galway.
We first heard of Uisneach, when we attended the Festivals of Fires a few years ago. Uisneach is the original seat of the High Kings of Ireland and there are many stone monuments on the large site, which is 4 kilometres in size. There have been a few archaeology studies completed and a geophysical survey has taken place, which has identified evidence of different structures and stone monuments on the hill. The lecture was very interesting, we learned so much about this site, from the mythological stories, ancient Irish history and archaeology.
Uisneach was the home of the goddess Eriu, after whom Ireland is named. The views from the hill are beautiful and you can view mountains hundreds of miles away in other counties on a clear day, we could see the Slievebloom mountains in Offaly.
There is a large stone boulder, which was left over from the Ice Age on the hill, which is called the Catstone, it has also been called ‘Umbilicus Hiberniae’, ‘Axis Mundi’, and ‘the Naval of Ireland’
Notable visitors to the Hill of Uisneach, include Daniel O’Connell, Padraig Pearse and Eamon De Valera.
James Joyce also regularly visited the Hill of Uisneach while he was working in Mullingar in 1900 – 1901.
The Hill of Uisneach is now including on Ireland’s Ancient East roadmap and there are plans to build a small visitors centre. There are guided tours every week and you can also book a private tour, check out the Uisneach website for details.
All images: melcoo.com