The two places in Ireland’s Ancient East I have been most looking forward to visiting are at the mythological and sacred centre of Ireland: Hill of Tara and Uisneach.
The Hill of Tara is not much to look at. It’s more about what you feel. It is considered a spiritual and sacred site. It is long believed to be the seat of the High Kings of Celtic Ireland. When viewed from above, the two circular mounds intersect in figure eight fashion. There is one megalithic passage tomb which is called the Mound of Hostages and is the oldest monument on the hill dating back to 2500 – 3000 BC. (Yikes that’s pretty old!) OK, enough history, lets get to the fun stuff!
The site is open year round and is free to visit. (During the spring/summer, there is a visitor centre which costs €4 to visit.) This morning we popped by for a quick jaunt before heading to Uisneach. It was about 10:30 am and I was delighted to spot a group in the distance at the stone of destiny, drumming.
I was also delighted to hear the giggles and joyful laughter of two young girls who were having the time of their lives. Little faeries playing with the faeries. There is no sound sweeter than the laugh of a joyful child, don’t you think?
There were many people out for a Sunday morning walk with their dogs and a group with children who appeared to be cross-country running. The site became even busier as a cycling event was underway. I felt like I was in the middle of the tour de France as I watched the cyclists speed by.
We walked around the site; taking in the beautiful views (did you know that although it’s only 200 meters high, you see 40% of Ireland from its summit. I popped my nose between the bars on the Mound of Hostages and then my camera followed and I was able to capture some of the carvings on the stone inside the chamber. Although there is a locked gate, I think I read somewhere you can get the key from the café down the way.
The hill with the Stone of Destiny was next. Legend has it the stone will scream when the true king lays his hand on it. Both Mom and I tried and were disappointed we won’t be taking our place on the Hill of the High Kings.
I may have stayed longer at the Hill of Tara, especially if it were a week day and not so busy, just to connect with the energy (I believe there are ley lines connecting Tara with other sacred sites around the world including Uisneach). But it was a busy spot and I really wanted to head off to Uisneach.
So we were off to the Hill of Uisneach (pronounced Ish Nock or Ish Nau (without the ck sound) which is located about an hour and 10 minutes west of Tara between Mullingar and Athlone.
The first photo below (tree lined road) is believed to be an ancient roadway to Uisneach. I was delighted to see buttercups in the field, along with dandelions too!
If you are at all a spiritual person or one who is on a spiritual quest, might I suggest you visit this amazingly sacred spot? It is unlike anything I have yet to experience. I imagine Stonehenge might be similar in energy but can attest that Newgrange and Knowth don’t even come close. Tara was similar but on a smaller scale. There is just something about this place.
We parked in the car park and met a couple from Ireland who now live in Germany. It amazes me how easy it is to meet people around here. It’s like everyone considers you to be a friend or neighbour. The closest I have come to this in Canada was while I was living in Eastern Passage, NS. It’s an amazing feeling. Anyway, back to the tour. We met our guide, Marty Mulligan, who was hands down the best man for this job. He has a real gift with storytelling and although his stories occasionally took on an exaggerated form, for the most part he was totally believable. I like how he explained how Tara and Uisneach are connected: Tara is the political side and Uisneach is the spiritual side. You can function without the other but they are enhanced together. Uisneach is also thought to be the spot where Lugh – the Sun god – died.
There is a very unique stone called the catstone – and is also known as Umbilicus Hinerniae, Axis Mundi and the naval of Ireland – marks the centre of Ireland where the provinces come together. It is believed to be a vortex with many ley lines coming from it. I can attest that the energy is strong and very inviting and there is definitely two very large ley lines passing through (north to south and east to west) with smaller shoots going out in all directions. I highly recommend it to anyone who is interested in furthering his or her spiritual journey.
On a clear day, you can see upwards of twenty counties from the summit!
As Uisneach is on a private working farm, access is only available through guided tours. The public tours are generally on the weekends at 1 pm or you can call and book a private tour and if the guide is available then you’re in luck. Tours will be ending shortly and will pick up again in the spring. There are festivals that are head several times a year on site – such as the festival of light, which is a sort of reenactment of the lighting of fires for Bealtaine. Back in the day – before our time for sure – a fire would be lit on Uisneach and each county would light their fires in before you knew it, the provinces would be united in a right of fire – “Fire-Eye.”
The tour is two hours in length and about a 3 km walk up hills and on uneven ground but it was so worth it. I saw several faerie trees (hawthorn trees) with stones covered in mushrooms under them, lots of cows as it’s a working cow breeding farm, the lake where Lugh supposedly died (which legend says is also a portal for the Tuatha Dé Danann.) We were graced with many forms of weather today from sunshine to a gentle rain to high winds and what felt like sleet, back to sun and all over again!
After the tour, we gathered in a cottage type building where we were treated to tea and goodies and were able to share our stories of why we came, how we learned of it and what our thoughts were. It was so interesting to hear similar stories and how we are all connected in some way.
One man who is clearly on a very personal journey, showed us a photo he had taken from inside loughcrew a day or two ago. The orbs on in were fantastic and were a sacred geometric shape. The photo was of a woman who is a yoga instructor. The man was inside the cairn, taking the photo of the passage looking out of the cairn. The woman’s head appears in the middle and is a white circle, surrounded by petals of pink light. I was taken back when I looked at the image. Yesterday, while at Newgrange, I stood back from the group so I could focus on the energy of the site and see if I could pick anything up. While peering down at the gravel, I was shown a circle with petals coming from it. I didn’t see colors, just the outline but what’s fascinating is what I saw is the same as what this man captured on his phone.
So, that’s the kind of day we had, full of healing energy!
We drove back to the small town we’re staying in, got take away from Mario’s, and are enjoying a quiet evening by the fireplace.
And, this amazing day ends our spiritual journey in the midlands of Ireland. We’re heading to the west coast tomorrow to partake in the second part of our journey – connecting with my family, even if it’s just in a spiritual way.
What I now know:
I really need to trust my intuition more. I have known since last year that I am meant to be here in Ireland to connect with the Tuatha dé Danaan. I didn’t know why, or how, just that I needed to be here and it would all happen as it’s meant to happen. While chatting with our guide Marty, I had so many revelations. The more we talked, the more I knew I am exactly where I’m meant to be and all is well!
I should have packed my wellie bobs, even if was just for a 2 hour tour. It would have been worth it to have warm, dry feet! AND I should have packed a pair of gloves.