After my drive through Killarney National Park, I headed across the country to Kilkenny. On my way, I just had to stop at the Rock of Cashel. It is reputed to be the site of the conversion of the King of Munster by St. Patrick in the 5th century AD. You know, St. Patrick… the guy that supposedly drove the snakes out of Ireland and brought Catholicism to Ireland? Maybe you know him better person who we celebrate by drinking green beer on March 17th. 🙂 Yeah, that guy.
Long before the Norman’s came to Ireland, the Rock of Cashel was the seat of the High Kings of Munster. However, not much evidence remains of their time there. Most of the buildings on the current site date from the 12th and 13th centuries when the rock was gifted to the Church. You can see why everyone wanted a piece of this rock since it sits high up on a hill and you can see for miles around.
The Rock wasn’t too busy on the day I was there. I got there late in the afternoon so if you want to avoid big crowds, this may be the ticket. It may have something to do with the gloomy weather but I think that only adds to the appeal of ruins! Make sure to look around at all of the details like gravestones are carvings because they are really quite intricate and interesting!
In addition to the building itself, there is also a large graveyard which includes a number of beautiful high crosses. You can see hundreds of years worth of grave sites here so make sure to leave enough time to wander outside as well!
I had to look this up when I got home but below you can see the ruins of Hore Abbey which was founded in the 1200s. I really wanted to scale the wall and go check them out too!
The Chapel of King Cormac was built in the 1100’s and has the oldest and most important Romanesque wall paintings in Ireland. The older decorations are around the outer walls the rest are visible on the upper walls and vault. You can see some of the ones on the ceiling in the picture below. This is the only part of the Rock of Cashel that still has a roof!
I’ve got one or 2 more posts planned for this trip plus I’ll be writing about my itinerary for the whole trip!