The Hill of Uisneach, in County Westmeath is placed by many as in the same league as the Hill of Tara in neighbouring County Meath. It is situated between the villages of Ballymore and Loughnavalley and was the ancient seat for the Kings of Meath. Its roots stretch back into ancient mythology with its history stemming from the La Tène period of the Iron Age.
Uisneach is a famous pre-historic meeting place which was also used for cattle rituals and other ‘May Day’ assemblies. In more recent times it was the meeting place for an important twelfth century synod. St Patrick and St Brigid have important connections with the Hill, it being claimed that it was here St Brigid received the veil from St Patrick.
The importance of Uisneach in early times is reflected in the large number of monuments, almost twenty, mostly ring forts and tumuli, which are scattered around and upon it. The most famous feature on Uisneach is the Cat Stone, named so because it resembles a cat watching a mouse. It is a huge limestone boulder almost six metres high which is estimated to weigh over 30 ton and is said to mark the centre of Ireland or the coming together of the provinces.
The Loughcrew Cairns, also known as the Hills of the Witch, are a group of Neolithic passage tombs dating to 3000 BC. The tombs are located on three different hills. Cairn T, one of the largest tombs in the complex, is situated on Carnbane East. Inside this tomb lies a cruciform chamber, a corbelled roof and some of the most beautiful examples of Neolithic art in Ireland. During the Vernal and Autumn Equinox people gather at dawn in Cairn T to watch sunlight enter the chamber and illuminate the inside of the tomb.