Rock of Cashel

Cashel of the Kings and

St. Patrick’s Rock

A historic site located at Cashel, County Tipperary, Ireland.

  • According to local mythology, the Rock of Cashel originated in the Devil’s Bit, a mountain 20 miles north of Cashel when St. Patrick banished Satan from a cave, resulting in the Rock’s landing in Cashel.
  • Cashel is reputed to be the site of the conversion of the King of Munster by St. Patrick in the 5th century.
  • In 1101, the King of Munster, Muirchertach Ua Briain, donated his fortress on the Rock to the church.
  • One of the most remarkable collections of Celtic art and medieval architecture.
  • The majority of buildings on the current site date from the 12th and 13th centuries.
  • In 1647, during the Irish Confederate Wars, Cashel was sacked by English Parliamentarian troops. The Irish Confederate troops there were massacred, as were the Roman Catholic celery, including Theobald Stapleton. The English Parliamentarian troops looted or destroyed many important religious artifacts.
  • Theobald Stapleton was an Irish Roman Catholic priest born in County Tipperary, Ireland. In September 1647, in the Sack of Cashel, Stapleton was captured in the cathedral and put to death on the spot.
  • In 1749 the main cathedral roof was removed by Arthur Price, the Anglican Archbishop of Cashel.

Cormac’s Chapel

The chapel of King Cormac Mac Carthaigh. Begun in 1127 and consecrated in 1134. The chapel was constructed primarily of sandstone and due to water over the centuries it has damaged the interior frescos. Restoration and preservation is currently under way.

  • A sophisticated structure, unlike most Irish Romanesque churches.
  • The twin towers on either side of the junction of the nave and the chancel are strongly suggestive of their Germanic influence, as this feature is otherwise unknown in Ireland.
  • Interior and exterior arcading.
  • A barrel-vaulted roof.
  • A carved tympanum over both doorways; the north doorway and the chancel arch. A tympanum is the semi-circular or triangular decorative wall surface over an entrance, bounded by a lintel and arch.

The Cathedral

The cathedral was built between 1235 and 1270. An aisleless building of cruciform plan that has a central tower and terminates westwards in a massive residential castle.

The Hall of the Vicars Choral was built in the 15th century. The vicars choral were laymen (sometimes minor canons) appointed to assist in chanting the cathedral services. At Cashel there were originally eight vicars choral and later reduced to five. A practice that continued until 1836. Visitors now enter through it to the site.


The Round Tower

The oldest and tallest of the buildings (90 feet), dating from 1100.


An Irish High Cross

Hore Abbey

Also known as St. Mary’s. A ruined Cistercian monastery near the Rock of Cashel. ‘Hore’ is thought to derive from ‘iubhair’; yew tree.

The former Benedictine abbey at Hore was given to the Cistercians by Archbishop David MacCearbhaill in 1270, who later entered the monastery.

  • 1269 – Archbishop David MacCearbhaill made profession of the Cistercian rule though remaining as Archbishop of Cashel.
  • 1270 – Founded from Mellifont. The last Cistercian foundation in Ireland before dissolution of the monasteries.
  • 1540 – Dissolved and property transferred to James Butler, 9th Earl of Ormond. Monks continued to serve the local parish.
  • 1561 – Lands granted by Elizabeth I to Sir Henry Radcliff

The Town of Cashel

Cashel means “stone ringfort”. Located in County Tipperary, Ireland. Situated in the Golden Vale in the Province of Munster. The Golden Vale is an area of rolling pastureland covering parts of three counties, Limerick, Tipperary and Cork. The best land in Ireland for dairy farming.

We had lunch at Café Hans – amazing eats.


(Photos by RSheridan)

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