"Cashel - Co. Tipperary" Top 5 Page for this destination Cashel by pure1942

Cashel Travel Guide: 87 reviews and 282 photos

Cashel of the Kings

For the first 22 years of my life, Cashel was my home. Growing up in Cashel I was often unaware of the unique historical significance of the town I lived in but as I travelled more and eventually moved from home I learned to appreciate the importance of Cashel, not only for local history but for regional and national history.
Cashel is located in the southern half of County Tipperary on the main route between Cork and Dublin. Until recently anybody travelling between these two cities had to pass through the town of Cashel but the construction of a new motorway means that you can now bypass the town.
Visitors still flock to the town especially during the summer months to the town's greatest attraction, The Rock of Cashel.

The Rock of Cashel

The Rock of Cashel is the most visted heritage site in Ireland and one of the most recognisable landmarks of Ireland.
Just to clear up some common misconceptions - The Rock (as it is known locally) is not in fact a castle but is actually a church (or series of churches). Also the 'Rock' refers, not to the buildings themselves but to the giant lump of limestone which rises up from the Tipperary plains and on which the buildings are located. Also the whole complex is not just one building but rather a series or buildings which grew over hundreds of years to form what is now collectively referred to as The Rock of Cashel or St. Patrick's Rock.

Originally The Rock of Cashel was indeed the seat of the Kings of Munster and remained so for hundreds of years before the Norman invasion. Brian Boru was crowned King of Munster here in 977 and later High King of Ireland in 1002. In 1101 The Rock of Cashel ended it's function as a fortification when Muircheartach O'Brien granted the Rock to the Church. From here on the Rock was to take on a more religious role and in 1127, Cormac McCarthy (the bishop at the time) started work on the Romanesque Chapel which is still in existence today. The Round Tower was also started around this time while Cathedral was built in the 13th century and is the largest building on the Rock.

In 1647, during the Irish Confederate Wars, Cashel was attacked by English Parliamentarian troops under Murrough O'Brien, 1st Earl of Inchiquin. The Irish Confederate troops present at the site were massacred, as were the Roman Catholic clergy, including Theobald Stapleton. Inchiquin's troops also looted or destroyed many important religious artifacts.

Many legends accompany the history of The Rock, some based on fact but others are pure myth.
Some of my favourites include the story of how St. Patrick allegedly baptised King Aongus at The Rock. During the ceremony St. Patrick is supposed to have accidently stuck his crozier through the foot of the King without realising it. The King, thinking that this was part of the formalities did not scream in pain or even whimper and it was only afterwards St. Patrick realised his mistake!
Another legend surrounding The Rock is that of a supposed underground tunnel between The Rock and Hore Abbey which lies about 400 metres from the site of The Rock. This tunnel has never been found but some people like to believe that one does exist.

To learn more about the Rock of Cashel check out my Things to Do tips where I have more detail on the individual buildings at The Rock.

Other Sites in Cashel

Cashel has plenty more historical buildings, although none which can compare to the importance or scale as The Rock.
Other notable attractions in Cashel are:

Dominic's Abbey on Dominic's Street (just below The Rock of Cashel)
Hore Abbey (to the North-West of The Rock on the road to Dundrum)
St. John the Baptist Parish Church on Friar Street
Cashel Church of Ireland Cathedral on John's Street
Bru Boru Heritage Centre at the foot of The Rock
GPA Bolton Libraryand remains of the city wall on John's Street
Cashel Folk Village

Check out my my 'Things To Do' tips for more info.

  • Last visit to Cashel: May 2009
  • Intro Updated May 28, 2009
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Reviews (25)

Comments (8)

  • balhannah's Profile Photo
    Feb 9, 2013 at 7:56 PM

    Thanks for the useful tips and lovely photo's!

  • hunterV's Profile Photo
    Feb 2, 2010 at 7:36 AM

    ~ Hello, Brian!><><><>< Thanks for your great story! So much interesting history there....

  • Dabs's Profile Photo
    Jul 7, 2009 at 7:53 PM

    Will definitely include a stop here on our visit, thanks for the informative page!

  • SabrinaSummerville's Profile Photo
    May 13, 2009 at 4:21 PM

    Brian we stayed in the Cashel Palace last Summer and loved it. It has become one of our favourite hotels in Ireland and we plan to revisit soon.

  • HORSCHECK's Profile Photo
    Mar 17, 2009 at 3:04 PM

    Brian, fabulous page with outstanding photos of this famous Irish town. I haven't been to Ireland since 2001, so it is about time for a return.

  • Aug 15, 2008 at 8:25 AM

    What a great page - going to Cashel on Sept 18, now I have twice as much to see! Thanks for all the great info, pure1942!

  • amandajayne81's Profile Photo
    May 15, 2008 at 12:12 AM

    What great tips about Cashel. I will be checking them again closer to my trip. Thanks.

  • nickandchris's Profile Photo
    Apr 6, 2008 at 8:20 AM

    Such an informative page with wonderful photos.

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