Visit the Rock of Cashel
One of Ireland’s premier attractions that guards the green fields of Tipperary from its height on a rocky outcrop in Cashel that was put there when it landed from 30km away when St. Patrick banished Satan from a cave. A little farfetched but that is how it happened. It is! The Rock of Cashel is full of history and is more than just a rock. The fort, churches and round tower are there for almost a thousand years and is well worth a visit as it is a perfect picture of Ireland, lots of history surrounded by endless green fields.
Time to Do: 1-2 hours to see the whole lot.
What’s to see at the Rock of Cashel
It looks very impressive and commanding from afar but it is not quite so big when you get up close. Although supposedly the seat of the high kings of Munster for hundreds of years and where St. Patrick converted Aonghus the King of Muster in the 5th century there is no evidence that there were any buildings here. Still though, the oldest building on site is the round tower from 1100AD followed by the very impressive Cormac’s Chapel which is also over 900years old and still going strong. Not a bad age in its own right. There is a small exhibition room before you start off showing some ancient stone carvings and crosses before you head outside. There is also a video room showing a short video of the history of the Rock of Cahsel.
Some of the original frescos of Cormac Chapel can still be seen on the walls even though there was 800yrs of neglect built up before restoration works began. The chapel has a complex design which was unheard of in Ireland at the time and so it is thought that foreigner workers came to construct it. A few ‘contractors’ in today parlance!
Cormac’s Chapel currently has scaffolding around it due to ongoing restoration works to try and limit the humidity in the chapel. Between this and some UV light exposure they are hoping to limit further degradation of the chapel walls by microorganisms.
My favourite part was the huge cathedral which is almost on top of Cormac’s Chapel which is very impressive. A huge high ceiling (which currently looks out at clouds in the sky), engravings in the rocks, some statues are all part of it. The cathedral was built in the 13th century and in my minds looks just as impressive as many modern churches. If you had a roof and a bit of heating it would be perfect for a mass! The roof was actually removed by the English in the 18th century and never replaced.
The rest of this small site has a low wall looking over endless green fields on the outside and keeping the old graves and Celtic crosses inside. The graves vary from a few hundred years old to more recent ones.
Practicalities – About the Rock of Cashel
- Admission – €6 adults, children €2
- Opening times: Mid Sept to Mid Oct and Mid Mar to Mid June: Daily 09:00-17:30, Mid Oct to Mid Mar: Daily 09:00-16:30, June to Mid Sept 09:00-19:00. Last Admission is 45min prior to closing time
- Directions: The Rock of Cashel is almost half way between Dublin and Cork on the main M8 (N8) road and is right in the town of Cashel. It is 160km south west of Dublin
- Bus: www.buseireann.ie has buses that go from Dublin airport through Cashel to Cork several times a day (2.8hrs,€24, the X8 bus). Also this same bus can be got from Busaras, the bus headquarters in the city centre where is takes just over 2hrs from. The same bus also leaves in the opposite direction from the Parnell Place bus station in Cork City. Booking online is much cheaper than booking at the station.
- Train – There is no direct train to Cashel but the nearest stop would be Thurles. Thurles is on the main Dublin to Cork line. Thurles is then 23km from Cashel. Booking online is much cheaper than booking at the station.
My Photo Gallery from Visiting the Rock of Cashel