The stone of the Divisions (AKA the Cat Stone) on the Hill of Uisneach in County Westmeath is is possibly the most significant ancient monument in the whole country. Firstly, legend say that this is the burial place of Queen Eriu, Queen of the Tuatha de Danann (A powerful, magical race that inhabited Ireland before the Celts). She was defeated and mortally wounded in a battle with the Celtic King, Amergen granted her a dying wish. He promised her that the island would bear her name forever – The Gaelic name Eriú was later changed by the Vikings into “Eriú’s Land”, or Ireland. This 30-ton stone looks more like a giant bolder that has been cracked into several pieces. The splits are believed to represent the ancient divisions of Ireland. A book called Beneath the Shadow of Uisneach, says that it was from here that the five ancient provinces of Ireland met, symbolising this as the centre of Ireland. The stone’s Irish name depicts this: Ail na Mireann (“Stone of the Divisions”). The division were first made by the Fir Bolg. It is on this hill that the first fire was lit for the ancient festival of Bealtaine. It was said that a fire lit at the summit here could be seen all over Ireland, and that all fires were lit from this one. This hill was also the gathering place of the kings of Ireland.

The Hill of Uisneach

Ail na Mireann (the stone of the Divisions) – Burial place of the Goddess Ériu, from whom Ireland takes its name. On the R390 between Mullingar and Athlone in County […]