Uisneach
County Westmeath

Near Mullingar lies the legendary Hill of Uisneach. In ancient Ireland, it was considered by druids to be the geographical and spiritual centre of the Emerald Isle. A rock known as Cat Stone, the Irish name “Ail na Mireann” means “stone of division”, marks the point where all five Irish provinces met. Éiru, in modern Irish Éire, is said to be buried under this rock. She is Ireland’s patron goddess.

After thousands of years of tradition, the Hill of Uisneach is still the scene of a druidic fire cult at Beltaine. As if you were a protagonist in a novel by Diana Gabeldon, you suddenly find yourself in another time – surrounded by druids, Celtic warriors and dancers who start a huge fire. At least as impressive as this event is the fact that fires suddenly flare up on the surrounding hills without this being organised as on Uisneach. By then it becomes clear that the ancient Ireland is still alive.

Incidentally, Ireland’s forefathers were not far off by establishing the Hill of Uisneach as the geographical centre of Ireland. In fact, the centre of Ireland is only about 17 kilometres west of Uisneach.