Cashel folk village on Dominic's Street is good attraction for adults and children alike. The Folk Village consists of a series of reconstructions of various traditional thatched village shops, a forge, and other businesses, together with a penal Chapel situated in a confined area within the town of Cashel, near to the famous Rock Of Cashel.
An extensive display of signs and other commercial memorabilia add to the appeal of this pleasant display of local history.
There is also an old IRA museum and audio-visual presentation on the War of Independence(1916 -1923).
Cashel, like a lot of other Irish towns, had a wall surrounding it to protect the population from attack.
The medieval walls of Cashel were built under the Charter of Murnage from Edward II between the years 1319-1324 and enclosed an area just over 28 acres.
In time they came to mark the boundries of the town and so helped in the levying of tolls and fees on traders. Canopy gates controlled access from the North-East. At the other end of the Main Street was Lower Gate, while Moor Gate stood near the Dominican Friary and John's Gate and Friar's Gate guarded the southern approaches. (The names of these gates still echo in the present street names - Lower Gate, John's Street, Moor Lane, and Friar's Street.
Considerable parts of the wall remain, the most important being those behind the Hospital, along the south and east borders of the Cathedral on John's Street and behind the Court House.
The Vee is a twisting mountain route leading from Clogheen, Co. Tipperary through the Knockmealdown Mountains into Co. Waterford. The area offers stunning views over the Plains of Tipperary and beyond especially on a clear day.
Hikers and Hill walkers flock to the area to enjoy the undless miles of unspoilt nature through woodland and mountain trails.
The focal point of the Vee is probably Bay Lough. This is a small corrie lake surrounded by steep rocky hills. The gloomy depths of the lake are reputed to hold the half mythical, half real 'Petticoat Loose', a woman of loose morals who was banished to this spot after casting her spell over many a man.
You will also pass an old roadside stone hut just after the lake known as the Bianconi Hut. This hut was originally a stagepost on a nationwide transport system developed by Carlo Bianconi (1786-1875), an Italian emmigrant.
Holycross Abbey is a Cistercian monastery located in the small village of Holycross between Cashel and Thurles. The village and abbey are built on the banks of River Suir.
The name of the abbey and village derive from the abbey's possession of a relic of the True Cross. The relic was first brought to Ireland by Queen Isabella of Angouleme, in 1233. After this the abbey was renamed Holy Cross Abbey.
After the Cromwellian war, Holy Cross Abbey fell into ruins and wasn't used as a place of worship for the next two centuries. However, in 1969, the Dail passed a motion allowing Holy Cross Abbey to be restored and the Abbey has been a a public place of worship since then.
The relic of the Cross is located to the left of the altar.
Brú Ború (Lair of Boru) is a cultural heritage centre at the foot of the Rock of Cashel. This cultural village is designed around a village green and is a home to the study and celebration of native Irish music, song, dance, theatre and Celtic studies. It has a folk theatre, genealogy centre, restaurant and other amenities.
The Brú Ború traditional group have performed worldwide. They represented Ireland at Expo 90 in Japan and Expo 92 in Spain. They perform for conferences and other events. They have performed on many television networks worldwide. Brú Ború performed in China in Autumn 1998 having received an official invitation from the Chinese government.
The group perform shows during the summer season and tickets can be booked by phone for the show. Tickets are also available for the show complete with a Pre-Show three course meal.
The centre also houses an underground exhibition area entitled the Sounds of History.
The Sounds of History exhibition tells the story of Irish music, song and dance through the ages and has various artefacts including broze Irish horns and bells as well as an Irish Harp. The exhibition has interactive exhibitions and an audio visual presentation as well as an audio visual exhibition on The Rock of Cashel.
(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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
St John the Baptist Roman Catholic Church was built on the site of the former Franciscan Friary and dates from 1795.
In 1932 mosaics were added to the facade to comemorate the Eucharistic Congress.
The facade and interior of the church have some unusual characteristics. The facade with it's colourful mosaic is very striking. The interior of the church contains sculptures along both sides of the main ailse, sponsored by local families in remberance of deceased family members. Another unusual feature of the church, are the two public galleries. These galleries are supported by columns and stretch the lenght of the church on both sides of the Main aisle, with side aisles on the ground floor, underneath the galleries.
The church celebrated it's bi-centenary in 1995 and a mojor restoration project was undertaken to revive the interior of the church.
The church yard contains a grotto to the Virgin Mary.
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
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 Bolton Library which was originally the chapter house of the adjacent Cathedral, contains a unique collection of antiquarian books and is the finest collection outside of Dublin. The books were collected by Archbishop Theophilis Bolton, Archbishop of Cashel from 1730 to 1744 and the collection numbers approx. 12000 books. The collection contains a wide range of subjects and includes a 12th century manuscript, the Nuremnberg Chronicle and works by Dante, Swift, Calvin, Erasmus and Machiavelli. Also on display are maps and church silver.