10 facts about the Rock of Cashel

These are the most interesting facts about the Rock of Cashel in Ireland.

The Rock of Cashel, also known as Cashel of the Kings and St. Patrick’s Rock, is an ancient monument situated in the archaeological site of Cashel, County Tipperary.

We’ve pulled together what we believe are ten of the most interesting facts about the Rock of Cashel, bound to compel any Ireland enthusiast to visit the historic site.

10. The Rock is over 1,000 years old

One of our facts about the Rock of Cashel is that it's over 1,000 years old.

The Rock of Cashel has acquired over 1,000 years of history right at the heart of Ireland’s Ancient East.

Although it was built in the 5th century, most of the buildings that remain today were constructed much later, in the 12th and 13th centuries.

9. It rises 200 feet into the air

The Rock of Cashel rises 200 feet into the air.
Credit: @klimadelgado / Instagram

This majestic, rocky cliff face is banded with limestone outcrops, resulting in the Rock of Cashel to rising 200 feet into the air.

The tallest building on the site – the round tower, is very well preserved and stands at 90 feet tall.

8. The Rock purportedly moved here from Devil’s Bit

The Rock purportedly moved to the area from the Devil's Bit.
Credit: @brendangoode / Instagram

According to old legends, the Rock of Cashel originated in the Devil’s Bit, a high mountain located around 20 miles north of the town of Cashel.

It is said that the Rock was eventually moved here when St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, banished Satan from a cave. In a fury, Satan took a bite from the mountain and spat it out at its current location, which is today known as the Rock of Cashel.

7. Irish kings Aengus and Brian are often associated with the Rock

Irish kings Aengus and Brian Boru were crowned at the Rock of Cashel.

Two of the most famous people in Irish history are often associated with the Rock of Cashel.

The first was King Aengus, Ireland’s first-ever Christian ruler, who was said to have been baptised into the religion here in 432 AD by St. Patrick himself. Brian Boru, the only Irish king to ever unite the entire island for any length of time, was also crowned at the Rock in 990.

6. It was once the seat of the High Kings of Munster

The Rock of Cashel was once the seat of the High Kings of Munster.

Long before the Norman invasion, the Rock of Cashel was the seat of the High Kings of Munster, some of Ireland’s most ancient provincial leaders.

Although there are few remains of their time spent here, the timeworn complex still possesses one of the most impressive collections of Celtic art in all of Europe.

5. It is said that King Cormac’s brother is buried here

King Cormac's brother is reportedly buried there, another of the top facts about the Rock of Cashel.

At the back of Cormac’s Chapel sits an ancient sarcophagus that is said to possess the body of King Cormac’s brother, Tadhg.

The coffin is engraved with intricate details of two intertwining beasts that are said to grant eternal life.

4. One of the high crosses was struck by lightning in 1976

A cross at the Rock was struck by lightning in 1976, another of the top facts about the Rock of Cashel.

Scully’s Cross is one of the largest and most famous crosses on the Rock of Cashel and was initially constructed in 1867 to commemorate the Scully family.

In 1976, the cross was destroyed by a massive bolt of lightning which struck a metal rod running the length of the cross. Its remains now lie at the base of a rock wall.

3. The Rock’s largest remaining building is St. Patrick’s Cathedral

One of the top facts about the Rock of Cashel is that the largest remaining building is St. Patrick's Cathedral.

The largest remaining structure is St. Patrick’s Cathedral, which was built between 1235 and 1270.

The building’s most attractive features are its transepts with triple lancet windows. For an expert, it might be possible to tell what century its decorative elements were made in, based on the materials used to make them.

2. Cormac’s Chapel is one of Ireland’s oldest examples of Romanesque architecture

One of our top facts about the Rock of Cashel is that Cormac's Chapel is Ireland's oldest Romanesque architecture.
Credit: @cashelofthekings / Instagram

Cormac’s Chapel is said to be one of the most well-preserved examples of Romanesque architecture in all of the Emerald Isle.

The 13th-century Gothic cathedral was built between 1230 and 1270.

1. The Rock is located just 500 metres from the town of Cashel

The Rock of Cashel is just 500 metres from Cashel town, one of the top facts about the Rock of Cashel.

The Rock of Cashel is located just 500 metres from the centre of Cashel, a historic town in County Tipperary.

Its proximity to the Rock of Cashel has made it a popular spot for tourists to stay when visiting the ancient monument.

Which fact about the Rock of Cashel do you find most fascinating? We hope we’ve managed to convince you to visit the monument. Still, if not, there are plenty of other incredible sites of historic importance to see on the Emerald Isle.

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Note: our travel articles should be used only to plan future trips. Please stay at home until the government has advised otherwise.

James Lavery grew up satiating his lust for travel with trips around the various cities and coastal regions of Ireland. Although he has since ventured far and wide for bigger bites of culture, he continues to sing golden praises of the Emerald Isle wherever he goes. When he isn't geeking over TV sitcom Friends or Disney films, James is writing or designing blog posts for numerous companies all over the UK, Ireland, and further afield.