A theme to which my poor husband has become quite accustomed is "we have to go to _____ because I read about it in a book." Overall, it's worked out fairly well and we've seen some very interesting places. The Rock of Cashel, ancestral seat of the high kings of the ancient province of Munster is probably the most interesting of these.
This group of buildings is set on a limestone hill about 500 metres from the center of the town of Cashel. The buildings include a romanesque chapel, 13th century gothic cathedral and round tower, as well as a High Cross and various other ancient grave markers. The Vicar's Choral Hall has been restored. There are also exhibits inside the visitors' center, including St. Patrick's Cross and antique silverware.
The Rock of Cashel is open 9:00 a.m. daily, with closing times varying by season (last admission is 45 minutes before closing time). The cost is 5 Euros for adults (discounted rates for seniors, students, children and families/groups).
For me this stop was very special because I love the "Sister Fidelma" series of books by Peter Tremayne. Fidelma, the ficitonal heroine, was a sister to one of the high kings of Munster and Cashel was her home.
Located in the Tipperary town of Cahir, this castle is one of the best preserved in Ireland. The keep, defensive walls and the tower are still quite intact and visitors may fully explore these. Guided tours are available along with an audio-visual presentation.
The Castle is open from 9:30 a.m. (opens 9:00 a.m. from mid-June to mid-September) with closing times varying by season. The cost is 2.75 Euros for adults with discounts for students, seniors, children and families/groups.
Cahir Castle is well worth the visit, especially as, at least for us, it was an unexpected delight.
This impressive castle is situated on a rocky island in RIVER SUIR and is one of the largest and BEST PRESERVED castles in Ireland.
CAHIR, the name of the surrounding town, derives its name from the Irish word CATHAIR, meaning STONE FORT.
The full form of the name is CATHAIR DHUN lascaigh or: stone fort of the dun of the fish.
This castle is an imposing 15th Century structure, which was designed as a state-of-the-art defensive castle.
Located MID RIVER (SUIR) on an outcrop of rock, the skill of its builders is very apparent.
NOTE especially the manner in which every last square foot of the rocky island has been utilised, to such good effect as to make it difficult in places to determine which is the castle proper and which the "living" rock from which it seems to grow!!
It provides a guide service and a splendid audio-visual presentation: which I can recommend to you, it was fantastic.
She was our guide.......and she was GREAT!
She was a gifted story-teller, moved from left to right, danced around, pointed here and there and everywhere and we, her little group followed her every movement....
It was an extra........the tour was made extremely pleasant and interesting for everyone of the group!
We walked every wall, climbed the towers, entered all kinds of halls and rooms and for everything she had a story to tell and we? we listened enchanted by her and the castle.
The day wasn't too rainy, although quite grey, but that didn't matter.......I enjoyed my visit very much.
It is difficult to compare CAHIR CASTLE with other Irish castles because t is so much larger than most of them and far more complicated: you could easily lose your way there!
What we can visit now is the outcome of several building stages from the 13th to the 19th Century!
This island site gies room to 3 wards, an outer, a middle and an inner, thus creating 3 defence lines, each one protecting the other....
I can imagine, seeing this all, that it was described as the "only famous casstle of Ireland which was impregnable".........only, this system of defence only remained effective until the advent of ARTILLERY in ELIZABETHAN TIMES.....
The castle dating back to the 13th Century had many additions and one of the latest was a BRIDGE crossing RIVER SUIR, BY WHICH WE VISITORS, NOW ENTER THE CASTLE, as well as the SWISS COTTAGE at the south end of the outer ward which was built during extensive restoration during the 1840s.
The BUTLERS have been the owners of title and castle for centuries: Lieut. Col. RICHARD BUTLER CHARTERIS either retained or regained possession of CAHIR CASTLE at a certain moment.
After his death in 1964 the CASTLE WAS TAKEN INTO STATE CARE as a NATIONAL MONUMENT.....
The great hall was largely rebuilt in the 19th Century, although the external (west) wall appears to be part of the 13th Century structure with window embrasures of the same date.
Restorations works were carried out throughout the CASTLE in the 1840s and although not well documented the 19th Century work can be distinguished by its style.
After this date the BASIC STRUCTURE was not altered.
In the photograph it is not very clear but the hall is quite large and the ceiling was very intricately constructed and such a pleasure to see!
And so much more pleasure is awaiting you when you leave to hall to continue your exploring tour.........
and the kitchen....
The North-West Tower in the inner ward is the largest & strongest building afther the KEEP, probably designed to be independently defensible.
The original entrance, through the hall, was guarded by a MURDERING HOLE! It was designed in a special way: something substantial or a heavy weight could be dropped onto the head of an unwelcome "guest"! A nice welcome.....
On the 2nd floor are large apartments with fine 15th Century windows.
There also is a MEDIEVAL PRIVY!
The kitchen: missed "life" despite the array of fine red copper pots and pans.....
Too white, empty and quiet....
This kitchen wasn't in the tour.....I could explore a bit after the tour.....that was allowed!
although it was already raining.
Looking back in my travelreport and scanning the photos, this seems to have been the Ireland holiday with the most rainy days & nights, grey skies and cold winds.....
Well, that is Ireland, i.e. that is how it CAN be but luckily not always IS.
THE KEEP which dominates the middle ward was originally the hate tower of the 13th Century castle, probably modified in the 16th Century.
It appears that the present gateway with the portcullis READY TO BE DROPPED (poor devil(s) who wea/were caught there!!!) was the original 13th Century gate.
Of course there are several DUNGEONS, which made me shiver and ran off.....
The governor of the keep could keep an eye on the prison and on the gate!
There also is a WELL TOWER, which was an IMPORTANT BUILDING! It was of course, an enormous advantage to the defenders of the castle, to be in possession of their own water supply in time of siege!!
Climbing the towers and walls it is nice to see RIVER SUIR all around the buildings and you can hear the rapid.....
This is the "rapid" I talked about in my previous tip.
Having climbed the highest tower there was to be climbes I could take this photograph......grey skies, but remember that I was in IRELAND......green green Ireland thanks to the huge quantities of rain........
camera at hand, I discovered this piece of a ?? I don't know what.
But doesn't he look great with that straight nose, the long hair : a noble face......and with a crown on top of his head he surely must have been important here in CAHIR CASTLE!
He will stay unknown to me forever and ever.....
To start with: BRU BORU means : "PALACE OF BRIAN BORU".
This Centre compromises a well-equipped theatre with frequent performances, BANQUETS in the Centre's RESTAURANT, an informal TEACH CEOIL (house of music) with sessions NIGHTLY and in addition, to cap it all, a fully computerised, genealogical service, an exhibition hall and a VERY WELL STOCKED CRAFT SHOP.....join me here.......
Their latest additional facility is the dramatic & thought provoking underground theatre and exhibition area, which relays the story of IRISH SONG & MUSIC.
Come, join me.....
And isn't this a joyous bronze in front of the building??
CASHEL has a very ancient history, albeit only documented since the 4th Century.....
The HUGE CATHEDRAL, ancient round TOWER and the very early, ROMANESQUE COMAC'S CHAPEL, perched on a dramatic outcrop of rock, were silent witnesses to many of the stirring events of IRISH HISTORY!
This place once was the seat of the MUNSTER KINGS (370 A.D. - 1101) till King Murtagh O'Brien granted the ROCK to the CHURCH.
St. Patrick visited CASHEL in 450 A.D. and baptised KING AENGHUS there.
The buildings on the rock include a 10th Century round tower, Cormac's chapel, the Cathedral, the Haal of the Vicars Choral and St. Patrick's Cross as well as some modern tombs and enclosing walls.
A ROCK FULL OF HISTORY & BEAUTY!
I wonder, has it ever been tranquil & peaceful there???
St. PATRICK, converted the local KING AENGHUS here in the 5th Century and on this spot BRIAN BORU was crowned KING OF IRELAND in the early 11th Century.....
Something to add: the Vicar's Choral has been restored and the site, one of the most visited in IRELAND, now provides an interpretative Centre (multi-lingual) and an interesting MUSEUM.
There are guided tours, which is always great, these guides really know an answer (and a good, satisfying one) to each and every one of your questions!
You can take in and enjoy breathtaking views over the extensive and beautiful plains of COUNTY TIPPERARY....
Walking down and down, feeling the water dripping on my head and hearing the drops falling on the floors, I suddenly realised that this WONDERWORLD never ever is the same.
The very idea that everything in there changed every second while I was walking there, was thrilling.......I felt so close to NATURE and to MOTHER EARTH with her WORKS OF WONDER.....and of course I tried to catch a few seconds by taking some photographs........it will all be different now, the staltites a tiny bit longer, the stalagmites a tiny bit higher......imagine that .....
This cave has sensitively been developed over a number if years and the results are really great!
Today access is easy along the suitably well-lit passageways leading to the caves massive caverns, of which there are 3 open to the public now.
It was quite a relief not to see people arriving in droves......it still felt very exquisite!
A FREAK OF NATURE........nature's persistent playing resulted in the most wondrous formations here in MITCHELSTOWN CAVE.
Yet we have to assume that this is looking like an accordion by our eyes only..........nature was just playing about in those underground caverns......
The names of the HALLS here that are open to the public are: the HOUSE of COMMONS, the HOUSE of LORDS and the inspiring 'TOWER OF BABEL"-formation.....
There is more, much more.....but not for us, tourists/travellers.....
SLOVENIA CAVES.....CLICK HERE...
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