The morning we left Dublin, we drove south 2 hours to the Rock of Cashel. This was our first stop of many along our road trip, and it did not disappoint. As you are following the road, suddenly the Rock of Cashel emerges in the distance, sitting high on a hill! It was such an exciting feeling and meant our time on the road had truly begun.
The Rock of Cashel is in ruins today, but formally served as the seat for the High Kings of Munster before it was donated to the church. It is said to be the location where St. Patrick converted Aenghus, King of Munster, in the fifth century. Most of the buildings on the current site however date to the 12th and 13th centuries.
The Rock of Cashel is also home to a graveyard. To this day, only family members of those buried here can still be buried on this sacred ground. Our guide told us a unique story about one of the graves. Scully’s cross is dedicated to the Scully family. In 1976 the cross was struck by lightning and broke off. To this day, the top of the cross remains on the ground. Since it’s private property, the tourism board who runs the Rock of Cashel cannot fix it. The guide said if they fixed this one cross, it’d lead to a slippery slope of having to upkeep them all!
Another unique aspect of the Rock of Cashel is Cormac’s Chapel. The chapel was constructed in 1127 for King Cormac Mac Carthaigh. The construction of the chapel is unique since they had to build it into the existing structure. If you look closely, the barrel vaulted cieling is slightly off center to the altar. The chapel also holds one of the best preserved Irish frescos of the time, which you can see part of in the picture below.
When visiting the Rock of Cashel, there is a small parking lot where you can park your car for 6 euros a day. It costs 8 euros per adult to visit the Rock of Cashel, though you can pay a few extra euros to visit the Chapel as well, which we did. You cannot book your tickets online but the queue wasn’t long when we arrived mid morning.
Your ticket includes a local guide who walks you through the grounds of Cashel. Our guide was so animated and passionate about telling the stories behind the Rock of Cashel and structures there. Overall, it takes between 1.5-2 hours to properly visit everything and enjoy the tour. For more information about visiting Cashel, check out the link here: Rock of Cashel.
The Rock of Cashel was a wonderful way to start our road trip. The tour guide was entertaining and informative, and the views from the Rock of the surrounding countryside was incredible. I highly recommend making a stop here if you are traveling between Dublin and Cork.
We’ve got a lot more Ireland posts coming your way! Stay tuned.