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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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 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.