The Rock of Cashel also has a small museum on site. The museum contains the original St. Patrick's Cross which was replaced outside by a reproduction model. The museum also contains the crozier found in the stone sarcophagus in Cormac's Chapel and the bronze bell of Cashel.
THe museum is located just of the entrance area in the Rock of Cashel
Hore Abbey is 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. He endowed the Abbey generously with land, mills and other benefices previously belonging to the town. The story, beloved of tour-guides, that he evicted the Benedictines after a dream that they were about to kill him, is unlikely to be true and probably arises from the Archbishop's 'interference' with the commerce of the city of Cashel. His disfavour of the established orders in Cashel certainly caused local resentment. He was resented by some of the towns-people, being considered too much in favour of the Irish by the more Anglicised. This is evident in the objection by the thirty-eight local brewers to the levy of two flagons out of every brewing and in the murder of two monks who were visiting the town.
The abbey is located on private property and direct access is prohibited.
Dominic's Abbey is situated close to the Rock of Cashel on Dominic's Street.The Abbey was founded in 1243 by Archbishop David Mc Kelly. David Mc Kelly was a Dominican friar and was appointed as Dean of Cashel. He became Bishop of Cloyne and in 1238 he was appointed Archbishop of Cashel. He died on 2nd March 1253 and was buried in the Chapel of the Apostles on The Rock.
It has been suggested that the carving of the bishop which is now on Miler Mc Graths tomb was originally on the tomb of Archbishop Mc Kelly. Dominic's Abbey was supplied with monks from the Friary in Cork and in 1289 and 1307 General Chapters of the Order were held in Cashel. The abbey is made from limestone and has cruciform plan with a high tower over the crossing.
The Abbey gates are locked but if you wish to enter the Abbey the keys are available from the resident's of 19 Dominic's St. which is the first house to the right of the Abbey.
The Hall of the Vicar's Choral is another hugely impressive building at The Rock. The hall contaoins many impressive wood carvings. THe interior is mainly of wood and has been very nicely restored. The restoration project on the Hall was an undertaking by the Office of Public Works to coincide with the European Architectural Heritage Year in 1975.
The vicars choral were given the honour of chanting at the cathedral services. Originally there were eight vicars choral, each possessing their own seal. This was later reduced to five vicars choral who appointed singing-men as their deputies, a practice which continued until 1836.
The oldest existing builing at The Rock is the limestone Round Tower, One of Ireland's finest examples. The tower is very well preserved and is 28 metres high making it the tallest building in the complex.The tower dates from around 1100. The entrance to the tower is 12 feet above the ground. This is common in Irish Round Towers and served as a defence mechanism. The doorway was reached by a ladder which was then pulled up after the occupants to prevent attackers from following. Unusually for a round tower, you cannot walk the whole way around as one side of the tower is joined to the Cathedral which was built at a later date.
The Cathedral at The Rock of Cashel was built between 1235 and 1270 and is the largest structure in the complex. The Cathedral replaced an earlier structure. Work started in 1235 and the central tower was added in the 14th century. A castle fortification was built at the western end in the early 15th century. The Cathedral is laid out in an aisle-less cruciform plan.
During the attack by English forces parts of the Cathedral were destroyed and many artefacts also destroyed or stolen.
In the Cathedral there are a number of 16th century carved tombs and the chancel holds the effigy of the pluralist Miler McGrath, Archbishop from 1571 to 1621.
Cormac's Chapel at The Rock of Cashel sticks out from the rest of the buildings in the complex due to it's colouring. The Chapel is built from sandstone unlike the other buildings on the Rock which are built from limestone. The sandstone gives the chapel on brownish tinge compared to the grey coluring of the limestone buildings.
The Chapel was commisioned by Bishop McCarthy and construction began in 1127. The Chapel was consecrated in 1134. It is one of Ireland's finest examples of Romanesque architecture. Most Irish Romanesque buildings are very plain in design but Cormac's Chapel is an exception. This is due in aprt to the fact that the Abbot of Regensburg sent two of his carpenters to help in the work and the twin towers on either side chapel have strong Germanic influence.
Other notable features of the building include interior and exterior arcading, a barrel-vaulted roof, a carved tympanum over both doorways, the magnificent North Doorway and Chancel Arch.
Recently magnificent frescos have been discovered in the Chapel. These frescos had been painted over at some point but now great efforts are being made to remove this outer layer af paint to uncover the fantastic frescos underneath. This process is under way at present and I look forward to the day when it is complete.
Another notable feature in the Chapel is the ornate stone sarcophagus, complete with snaking Celtic design in which a bishops crozier was discovered.
(Taken from my Cashel Intro Page)
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.
The Swiss Cottage was built around 1810 and was the rural residence of the Butler's who used the cottage as a country lodge and for entertainment purposes. The cottage is located in a stunning setting on the banks of the River Suir, surrounded by woodland and sitting an a raised hill overlooking the surrounding area.
For more details check my Cahir Page
Cahir Castle is one of Ireland's finest and best preserved castles. Originally it was Conor O'Brien, Lord of Thomond, who built a fort here on the banks of the Suir River in the 12th century. This was later used as a basis for further development by one of Ireland's most powerful families, The Butlers, after they had gained ownership of the Castle in the 14th century. Most of the expansion of the castle occured between the 15th and 17th centuries.
The castle is one of Ireland's most visited heritage sites and because of the town's location close to the town of Cashel, it is an easy catch for anyone visiting the mighty Rock of Cashel.
For more info check my Cahir Page
hore abbey is located a short walk down the hill from the rock of cashel. the abbey was founded in 1272 by the cistercians. this beautiful ruined monastery is worth visiting when in cashel. a word of warning, to get to the abbey you cross a cow pasture so watch your step.
The Rock of Cashel is an ancient castle built on top of a hill rising from the plain. The castle was the seat of the kings and is still impressive today. Take note of the restored architecture, paintings, high crosses and the work that went into building this huge compound.
Spectacularly located on a huge outcrop of rock overlooking the town is what looks like some kind of fairytale castle. It is in fact a remarkable collection of religious buildings from various periods in Ireland's history. The oldest is the 12th C. Round Tower, the largest is the 13th C. Cathedral as well as the oldest Romanesque church in Ireland (also 12th C.). IMHO this is one of the most important and interesting historical sites in the country.
The Rock of Cashel, also known as Cashel of the Kings lies on a large mound of limestone . The small town of Cashel lives under the protection of this great fortification that served as the seat of the bishops and kings of Munster for 900 years.
Most of the buildings on the current site date from the 12th and 13th centuries. The Gothic-style Cathedral was built between the years 1235 and 1270. The most impressive edifice is the 28 meter high, round tower, which dates from the 12th century.
The glory days of Cashel came to an end in 1647, during the Irish Confederate Wars, when English Parliamentarian troops under Murrough O'Brien pillaged The Rock, killing over 800 townspeople who had fled there.
Bru Boru is a Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann (Irelands national body which promotes traditional music and dance) cultural centre at the base of the Rock of Cashel. During the Summer season the centre holds nightly performances of Irish music and dance. While most Irish people would rather have hives than experience this, I thoroughly enjoyed the show and was impressed by the standard of the young performers. Its very popular with tour groups so its not a bad idea to book in advance if going in August.
Bru Boru's performing group also tour extensively world-wide.