If you’re looking for something different or something that will give you that wow factor during your stay at Hodson Bay Hotel in Athlone then go to Ireland’s sacred centre, the Hill of Uisneach. Mythology, mystery and history shroud this once incredibly vibrant sacred site. Learn of the Sun God, the Earth Goddess, where Ireland got its name and what the ‘Fire Eye’ symbolised.
“The Hill of Uisneach is thought to be the centre of Ireland (Mide). Hills in twenty counties are visible from its summit. Bealtaine Fires lie on these hilltops could unite the provinces in a ring around the ‘Fire Eye’” (Hill of Uisneach pamphlet)
Journey to Ireland’s Sacred Centre
From Athlone take the winding, hilly road to Drumraney, then Ballymore to the Hill of Uisneach. You may have heard stories or Gods, sacred land, ring forts and pagan rituals but nothing prepares you to stand on the Hill. As you arrive to wild, roughed landscape, park in the stony car park and walk down to the homespun visitor centre. This is a little gem full of unique pieces of information on Uisneach, other historical sites with literature for sale.
Tours of Uisneach
Tours at the Hill of Uisneach happen Wednesday to Sunday up to the end of September and then Sundays in October. Justin Moffat, a tour guide said “Hail, rain or sunshine a guide is there Wednesday to Sunday at 1.00pm to show talk you through this marvellous site. A tour takes about 2 hours and it is an easy level of walking for approximately 3Km.”
So, after some introduction videos it is off to start the tour. The Hill of Uisneach is on a working farm and so you are asked to respect the land, heritage and environment. Not much to ask for when preserving and protecting this sacred land for no fee; only donations. Justin and David’s humility to share this mythological and history royal site speaks of their admiration and deep respect for what Uisneach represents. Justin speaks of feeling a sense of renewed energy after visiting the Hill.
Uisneach is the Fire Eye
It is a bucket list must do. Just think you can stand in the mythological centre of Ireland where the Catstone or ‘Aill na Mireann’ pin points the meeting point of the five provinces of Ireland and the burial site of sovereignty goddess, Ériu. And where the Sun God Lugh was killed and is buried along with evidence of a megalithic tomb on the summit.
Myth, Legend & History
It is hard to fathom that people were on Uisneach since Late Neolithic times meaning human activity spans five millennia. And as you walk through the tour of The Royal Palace, a ring fort, you learn of remains of houses and domestic activity. And even though Ireland wasn’t invaded by Rome, Roman coins were found on the site of the ring fort. This really makes one think of how significant this site was and is today.
Maybe ‘earth energy’ is not the right word but when you stand on this sacred site; on the summit of Uisneach and at the Catstone you can feel a raw pure energy flow in the ground. You feel a sense of peace and calm. It is said places and structures hold energies and memories so it wouldn’t be unreasonable to say Uisneach has a powerful past and silently and humbly radiates this power.
Uisneach is acknowledged as one of the most sacred and historic sites. It is one of the royal sites on the UNESCO World Heritage Site – Ireland, Tentative List. Others sites on this list are Cashel, Co. Tipperary, Dún Ailinne, Co.Kildare, Rathcroghan, Co. Roscommon and Tara, Co. Meath.
A Sacred Place
Uisneach is so far removed from our commercial, contemporary, fast paced, deposable lives. It has endured the test of time and reveals its history willingly and without judgement for all who take their own journey to the powerful centre of Ireland. If anything its majesty facilitates us to reconnect with a more natural and quiet existence. It will leave you thinking and questioning the possibility of a more natural state for your life.
The End of the Journey and Start of Another
At the end of your journey, sip a great brew and dunk a chocy bikkie in the Visitors Centre. Upon leaving carry the message of the Hill of Uisneach; its power and history; its myths and legends for others to discover for themselves.