The Rock of Cashel

Tours of Ireland will usually visit the Rock of Cashel. It is a must see attraction.

It is without doubt the single most impressive site of relegious significance in the whole of Ireland.

It dominates the rolling countryside of County Tipperary for miles around.

It is named because of its location atop a rocky outcrop.

It is in fact a complex of buildings dating from a number of periods in Irish history. It is a kind of packaged summary of the countrys architecture from about 1,700 years ago to the 15th century.

From 350 AD until the turn of the first millenium it was chosen as the seat of the kings. This was largely due to its easily defensible position.

In 1001 it was given to the church by ” Murtagh O’Brien ” , who was the King of Munster then.

However 600 years earlier Saint Patrick had visited Cashel to baptise another Munster king and had established it as a bishopric.

Its best known bishop was ” Cormac Mac Cuilleannain ” who perished in a most ” unbishoplike ” way. He was killed during a battle in 908 vainly attempting to take over the position of High King of Ireland.

Brian Boru , the legendary High King and eventual vanquisher of the Vikings , was crowned at Cashel in 977.

The complex includes the inevitable round tower , Cormacs Chapel , the remains of a cathedral founded in 1169 , and Saint Patricks Cross.  The chapel is a gem of 12th century Hiberno-Romanesque styling and the cross is one of the oldest Celtic crosses to survive.

Any Ireland tours should consider visiting the Rock of Cashel.