1st Edition

Uisneach or the Center of Ireland

By Frédéric Armao Copyright 2023
    336 Pages 36 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    336 Pages 36 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    The hill of Uisneach lies almost exactly at the geographical center of Ireland. Remarkably, a fraction at least of the ancient Irish population was aware of that fact. There is no doubt that the place of Uisneach in Irish mythology, and more broadly speaking the Celtic world, was of utmost importance: Uisneach was – and probably still is – best defined as a sacred hill at the center of Ireland, possibly the sacred hill of the center of Ireland.

    Uisneach or the Center of Ireland explores the medieval documents connected with the hill and compares them with both archeological data and modern Irish folklore. In the early 21st century, a Fire Festival started being held on Uisneach in connection with the festival of Bealtaine, in early May, arguably in an attempt to echo more ancient traditions: the celebration was attended by Michael D. Higgins, the current president of Ireland, who lit the fire of Uisneach on 6 May 2017.

    This book argues that the symbolic significance of the hill has echoed the evolution of Irish society through time, be it in political, spiritual and religious terms or, perhaps more accurately, in terms of identity and Irishness. It is relevant for scholars and advanced students in the fields of cultural history, Irish history and cultural studies.




    1. Centrality of Uisneach

    2. Uisneach in Irish Mythology 

    3. Uisneach and The Ancient Assemblies 

    4. Times and Sacredness: Bealtaine

    5. Uisneach: Archaelogical Data

    6. Modern and Contemporary Aspects of Uisneach






    Frédéric Armao is currently an Associate Professor at the University of Toulon (France). His primary research focuses on the link between Irish folklore (both modern and contemporary) and Celtic mythology. His work has examined the evolution of Irish calendar festivals from their pre-Christian beginnings through their syncretic contemporary celebration.