Hill Of Uisneach : Cairn

CountyWestmeath
Grid RefN 292 490
Longitude7° 33' 36.1" W
Latitude53° 29' 24.74" N
ITM east480366
ITM north584435
Nearest TownKilbeggan (14.3 Km)
OS Sheet48
UTM zone29U
UTM x449041
UTM y5761192

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Aill na Mireann (The Catstone) - Hill Of Uisneach - Standing Stone
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Visit Notes

Monday, 29th October 2001

There is so much on this hill it's hard to work out what is what. The 'landowner' has tried to block off access with big signs and an electric fence, but don't let this stop you.

The sign at the entrance says....

Hill Of Uisneach
Site of the Festival of Bealtaine
Ancient Place of Assembly
St. Patrick's Church
Sacred Center of Ireland in Pagan Times
Site of Druid C Fire Cult
Seat of High Kings

You can't get a better pedigree than that. On the top of the hill are many earthworks and walls that really mean nothing now in their confusion. I was unable to locate the mare and stallion souterrains that supposedly are located here.

There is an atmosphere here that is hard to capture in words. The top is desolate and windswept, the views are long and far due to it being one of only a few low hills in a massive plain. I felt that the history of the hill is fixed and scorched into the earth and the trees and is there to be tapped. There is an energy borne on the wind that takes the chill out of it, even at the end of October. Some places you go to become quiet when you enter, this place becomes alive, almost as if the voices of the ancients are whispering in your ears. Some of them shout. This would be an amazing place to go divining if you're into that sort of thing. Way cool!

A visit here is highly recommended (if only to see The Catstone) just for the experience of standing where so much history (real and mythical) took place.


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Saturday, 3rd May 2003

The Hill of Uisneach ( and [ Aill na Mireann (The Catstone) (County Westmeath)] ) was the start of an amazing two day trip. I was showing Julian Cope both this site and Knocknarea. We took the time to wonder around the top of Uisneach and looked at nearly every lump and bump, trying to make sense of it all - which we totally failed to do.

The earthworks here are so diverse. The ring forts are easy enough to spot, but the other reeves and boundaries are very confusing. The hill top has been used for over 2000 years and it shows. One of the most puzzling features is the little lake on the top - I wonder if its ever been dragged to see if it was used votively?

Just a quick note: the "Private - Keep Out" signs have gone now. I believe the land may have changed hands, or at least there seems to have been an attitude change since my first visit.

Like this monument

Marked Sites

Directions

From Mullingar take the R390 south west. Look out for a sign pointing to Hill Of Uisneach by a picnic site. Continue until you see a sign pointing to 'The Catstone'. Park here and go through the horse gate on the other side of the road. Pass the Catstone and cross the style at the brow of the hill.

Random Gazetteer

A Selection of Other Cairns

About Coordinates Displayed

This is an explanation of (and a bit of a disclaimer for) the coordinates I provide.

Where a GPS figure is given this is the master for all other coordinates. According to my Garmin these are quite accurate.

Where there is no GPS figure the 6 figure grid reference is master for the others. This may not be very accurate as it could have come from the OS maps and could have been read by eye. Consequently, all other cordinates are going to have inaccuracies.

The calculation of Longitude and Latitude uses an algorithm that is not 100% accurate. The long/lat figures are used as a basis for calculating the UTM & ITM coordinates. Consequently, UTM & ITM coordinates are slightly out.

UTM is a global coordinate system - Universal Transverse Mercator - that is at the core of the GPS system.

ITM is the new coordinate system - Irish Transverse Mercator - that is more accurate and more GPS friendly than the Irish Grid Reference system. This will be used on the next generation of Irish OS maps.

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