It’s Bealtaine, the beginning of Summer according to the ancient Celtic Irish calender. The Hill of Uisneach is the sacred centre of Ireland, and the place where it all happened…


UISNEACH Ancient Ceremonial Site of the Bealtaine Fires

I had very few expectations of The Hill of Uisneach (Cnoc Uisneach in Irish) when I went there for the first time, but as with Shee Mor, it turned out to be one of those ancient places of Ireland which just blew me away.

It’s hard to get an exact meaning for the name Uisneach. It derives from the Irish word for water, uisce (pronounced ish-ka) and a god of the Tuatha de Denann named Nechtan. Not a great deal is known about Nechtan; the name is possibly a variant of Nuada Argetlam, or some say another name for the Dagda. The Hill of Uisneach is said to be located near Nechtan’s well, which also happens to be the source of the River Boyne.

The interesting thing about Nechtan’s Well, is that it might also be the…

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10 Comments on “Uisneach | Ancient Ceremonial Site of the Bealtaine Fires

  1. Pingback: Planning Your Visit to Ireland? Trek Along the Iron-Age Trackway at Corlea | aliisaacstoryteller

  2. What a wonderful place, Ali, and I love the photos 🙂 I think it’s not a bad thing either that they stopped the festival, if it wasn’t in the spirit of the place.

    And a happy belated Bealtaine to you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Helen. I think the landowner was trying to revive an important ancient festival. I just don’t think it turned out the way he intended. That’s my guess. Now he does small tours of the site at weekends, and the fire festival is a small one concentrating on the occasion it is, not on spectacle. I’m hoping to be there, so I’ll let you know how it goes.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, I’m sure it was started with the best of intentions, otherwise they wouldn’t have stopped it when things got out of hand. Nice to hear that the land is still being respected as it should be. Lucky you going to the fire festival – look forward to hearing about it!


    • I think the organisers of the festival wanted it to be something the landowners didn’t. I think a lot of revellers were going for the party and the craic, and weren’t really interested in the meaning of Bealtaine, or the ancient site itself. Now it’s a much quieter smaller affair run by the landowners. I’ll be there for this year’s, so I’ll let you know!


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