Sacred Rock of Cashel Ireland

Ireland is a country of myths and legends; they speak of leprechauns and tales of St Patrick driving all of the snakes out of Ireland. The line between fact and fiction is very thin indeed, and one place in Ireland that has inspired many tales is the Rock of Cashel in Tipperary.

The Rock of Cashel, which is also called St Patrick’s Rock, is one of the most visited attractions in Ireland and although there may be some conjecture about the stories which surround it, there is no denying that the buildings upon the rock are some of the best preserved Celtic and medieval buildings in Europe.

The tallest of the buildings, the round tower, reaches a height of 28 metres (90 ft) and was constructed in the tenth century, making it a superb engineering feat for that time. Cashel was home to the Kings of Munster and the rock was donated to the church in 1101.

Cormac’s Chapel was consecrated in 1134 and remains to be one of the most impressive and architecturally-important buildings in the complex being of Romanesque design, although the twin towers on either side of the nave also suggest a Germanic influence. The chapel’s interior contains the oldest and most important Romanesque wall paintings in Ireland.

A cathedral was built there during the 1200s which is quite imposing, and it would be much better preserved if the cathedral hadn’t been sacked by English Parliamentarian troops during the Irish Confederate Wars, and the roof removed in 1749 by the Anglican Archbishop. It is still a magnificent building, and it is not hard to imagine just how grand it would have been before being desecrated.

Rumours suggest that St Patrick converted the King of Munster here back in the 5th century, and it is that association with Ireland’s patron saint which helps to explain the site’s popularity, although the buildings are also worth visiting.

Cashel Folk Village and Museums allow you the opportunity to learn about Irish history ranging from Neolithic times to the modern day. The audio visual display describing the Great Famine is particularly very moving.

Cashel is geared up to cater for tourism and there is a range of accommodation in the area. The town also has many restaurants, and, of course, pubs where you can enjoy a loud drink and a good meal in convivial company.

The town is about two and a half hours by road from Dublin, and just over an hour from Cork and Waterford.

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