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Museums and Attractions

Museums and Attractions

The Hill of Uisneach

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Loughnavalley
Mullingar
Westmeath
Republic of Ireland

The Hill of Uisneach in County Westmeath is one of Ireland’s most treasured and most mysterious historical attractions. Situated between the towns of Athlone and Mullingar, it was the ancient seat of the Kings of Meath; its historical roots go back to the La Tene period of the Iron Age.

Uisneach has also been famous as a prehistoric meeting place for cattle rituals and other May Day assemblies, while in more recent times it was the meeting place for an important 12th-century synod. Both Saint Patrick and Saint Brigid, patron saints of Ireland, have important connections with the Hill of Uisneach—legend has it that Saint Brigid received the veil from Saint Patrick at this very spot.

The importance of the Hill of Uisneach as a prehistoric meeting place is reflected in the large number of monuments (almost 20) that are scattered around its environs. Around and on top of the hill are the remains of circular enclosures, barrows, cairns, a holy well and two ancient roads, ring forts and tumuli. The most famous feature of this series is the Cat Stone of the Hill of Uisneach—so named because it resembles a cat watching a mouse. The huge limestone boulder measures almost six metres high and is estimated to weigh over 30 ton—it’s said to mark the centre of Ireland and the coming together of the provinces.

Although just 182 metres above sea level, the summit of Uisneach provides panoramic views over the central plain; numerous counties are visible on the horizon. In more recent years Hill of Uisneach became a site of political rallies, with Daniel O’Connell, Éamon de Valera and Padraig Pearse addressing the Irish public—Irish writer James Joyce was also a regular visitor.

Visit the Hill of Uisneach to take a fascinating journey into the spiritual past of ancient Ireland.

General DescriptionsKEY
  • Free Admission
Descriptions
Opening Times

Access to the site is by guided public tour only; tours of the Hill of Uisneach begin from the entrance gate and operate from 1 April-30 October, on Saturdays and Sundays.

Although there is no fixed charge, a nominal donation per visitor is expected for the public tours. The following guidelines should apply: Adult, €5 (2 hour tour maximum) | Children (under 12), €3 | Family Rate (2 Adults, 2 children under 12), €15 This does not apply to private tours as a minimum donation of €50 (1-5 people maximum for a 2 hour+ tour) should apply, and a €10 donation per head thereafter.

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