Tipperary Tourism: The Rock of Cashel

The Rock of Cashel is truly an impressive and iconic landmark, located in Cashel at the heart of Tipperary, The Rock of Cashel boasts a massive round tower, ancient ruins, and is embroiled in a rich history, there is nothing like it anywhere else in the world.  For hundreds of years prior to the Norman invasion, the Rock of Cashel was the traditional seat of the kings of Munster.  Most of the buildings on the current site date from the 12th and 13th centuries, the Rock of Cashel is one of the most remarkable collections of Celtic art and medieval architecture to be found anywhere in Europe.  Local ancient mythology states that the Rock of Cashel originated in the Devil’s Bit mountain, located 30km north of Cashel when St Patrick banished Satan from a cave, which caused the ‘rock’ to land in Cashel.

The oldest and the tallest of the buildings on the site is the round tower, which rises 90 feet off the ground.  Cormac’s Chapel, the chapel of King Cormac Mac Carthaigh, which begun to be erected in 1127 and was completed in 1134, is a sophisticated structure unlike other Irish Romanesque churches.  The Cathedral, built between 1235 and 1270, is an aisle-less building of cruciform plan, having a central tower and terminating westwards in a massive residential castle.  In 1749, the main cathedral roof was removed by Arthur Price, the then Bishop of Cashel.  An extensive graveyard surrounds the buildings, which includes a number of high crosses.  Scully’s Cross, one of the largest and most iconic high crosses in Cashel, originally constructed in 1867 to commemorate the Scully family, and was destroyed in 1976 when lightning struck a metal rod that ran the length of the cross.  The remains of the top of the cross now lie at the base of the cross adjacent to the rock wall.  When one walks around the buildings of the Rock of Cashel and looks out into the distance beyond the hill, they will be blown away by the breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside below.

The town of Cashel itself is situated in the Golden Vale, an area of rolling pastureland.  It is located off the M8 motorway between Dublin and Cork.  Accommodation in Cashel includes the sumptuous Cashel Palace Hotel, and a range of family friendly B&B’s.  Cashel town centre is a thriving retail hub, with a range of clothes shops, cosy cafés, fun gift shops, and pubs bursting with old world charm, and a selection of food retailers offering delicious artisan fare.The Rock of Cashel will be open from Mid March to Mid June, daily from 9.30pm to 5.30pm, Mid June to Mid September, daily from 9am to 7pm, Mid September to Mid October 9am to 5.30pm, and from Mid October to Mid March 9am to 4.30pm.  Last admission:  45 minutes prior to closure.  Admission fees:  €5.30 for an adult, €3.70 for a senior citizen, €2.10 for a student with valid student ID, and €11.50 for a family.  For more information call 062 61437 or visit http://www.cashel.ie

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