Rock of Cashel Highlights (6)
Visit the chapel of Cormac Mac Carthaigh, king of Munster. This is the finest and most complete Romanesque church in Ireland. Look for the only surviving Romanesque frescoes in Ireland and admire the chapel’s north door, which has an exquisitely carved tympanum depicting a small centaur hunting a lion.
Don’t miss this beautiful and well-preserved medieval building, which belonged to a group of laymen engaged to chant the services in the chapel. Such is the intensity of the atmosphere here, it is not difficult to imagine the vicars’ holy song echoing around the walls.
There are more profane elements to be discovered too. Search for the well-hidden Sheela-na-gig on the outer wall.
The thirteenth-century Gothic cathedral at Cashel is a place of special spiritual potency. Admire the highly decorated wall painting in the south transept. Look upwards to appreciate the cathedral’s central tower and the massive residential castle.
The Round Tower is the oldest surviving building on site. It dates to the early 12th century and was probably completed in and around 1101, the same year the site was gifted to the church. It is 28m tall from base to the top of the conical stone-capped roof and was made from limestone and sandstone.
From the summit of the Rock, take in the all-around view over the surrounding plain. See if you can make out the two abbeys nearby. Nearby Hore Abbey, a hauntingly beautiful ruined Cistercian monastery, is well worth a visit if you have the time.
Sample the culinary delights on offer in the many restaurants and cafés in the delightful heritage town of Cashel. Browse historical memorabilia at the Cashel Folk Village museum, take in a show at Brú Ború or explore the town’s rich history at the Heritage Centre.