The Rock of Cashel: when to visit, what to see & things to know

The beautiful Rock of Cashel is a spectacular structure set in the Tipperary countryside. Here is everything you need to know about the Rock of Cashel.

The Rock of Cashel is home to the most impressive cluster of medieval buildings in Ireland.

Located in the heart of Cashel Town in County Tipperary, this magical and historic landmark is a must-visit when exploring the Emerald Isle.

The all inspiring and imposing Rock of Cashel is also known as Cashel of the Kings and St. Patrick’s Rock.

This stunning site is set against the backdrop of the beautiful Tipperary countryside. It is home to over 1,000 years of history.

Originally built as a fortress for the kings of Munster during the 4th and 5th centuries, the Rock of Cashel is renowned as a place of power.

It is here that St. Patrick converted King Aengus to Christianity and baptised him. King Aengus then went on to be Ireland’s first Christian ruler.

The structure has withstood the years and is a sight to behold.

In 990AD Brian Boru was crowned High King at the Rock of Cashel, and he was Ireland’s second Christian ruler.

Brian Boru is often regarded as being the most successful High King as he was the only king who was capable of uniting all of Ireland under one ruler. 

The Rock of Cashel continued to be a site of power through the many inaugurations of kings that took place here.

In 1101, the reigning King of Cashel handed the Rock of Cashel over to the church. For the 700 years that followed, the Rock of Cashel was in the midst of great religious turmoil.

The Rock of Cashel has undergone significant restoration to return it to its former glory. This is thanks to it being handed over the State in 1869.

Since then it has been recognised as a National Monument of great religious and historical importance.

When to visit

The Rock of Cashel has spectacular views and sights from its peak.
via Beth Ellis

Tipperary’s Rock of Cashel is one of the few heritage sites which is open all year round apart from Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and St. Stephen’s Day.

Opening hours for the site vary depending on the time of year, with the summer months having longer opening hours. 

The busiest time for visitors to the site is in the afternoon. As such, we suggest visiting the Rock either in the morning or late afternoon and evening.

By visiting this heritage site, when it isn’t as busy, you will have a better chance to explore this excellent site and ask questions to those who work there.

What to see

The Rock of Cashel is truly one of the top places to visit.

Heading to the Rock of Cashel, you will become mesmerised by this incredible beauty that overlooks the countryside. Sitting atop a rock, this site keeps watch over Cashel Town below.

You will feel as though you have been transported back in time, or that you have become part of the world of Game of Thrones

Be sure to pay attention to the walls of Cormac’s Chapel, this is the first building in Ireland that was built in the Romanesque style.

There are carvings of heads, round arches, and fragments of frescos which can all be seen today. The oldest of these painting dates back to approximately 1134, and they are truly breathtaking.

The Rock of Cashel is home to a variety of ecclesiastical buildings and structures that date from the 12th and 13th centuries.

A cathedral, built in the gothic style, was used as a place of worship until the mid-1700s. The Rock of Cashel is also home to a round tower, which is the oldest and tallest of all the buildings at the site. 

You can also admire the artefacts that have been excavated on the Rock of Cashel in the Hall of the Vicars Choral.

This building was built in the 15th century and now acts as the entrance to the Rock of Cashel.

You can admire an ancient cross that has lost its arms and sculptures that have been recovered from the site. 

Things to know

Be sure to check the weather when visiting the Rock of Cashel.
rock of cashel co

The majority of the sites at the Rock of Cashel are outdoors and exposed to the elements.

As such, it is important to dress for the weather or plan your trip according to the weather forecast. Be sure to bring footwear that you don’t mind getting a bit muddy.

There is a short audio-visual presentation available, and this gives a brief insight into the history of the site. You can also pay for a brochure which will help you navigate your way around the Rock. 

Generally, people spent 1.5 hours exploring this site. This allows for enough time to explore all the sites and read up on history. 

Tickets cost €8 per adult, €4 per child or student, and €6 for a senior. However, the admission fees are half-price until December 2020 due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Pre-booking is essential during this period and can be booked by phone at 062 61437. Be sure to check out one of the most beautiful sights in all of Ireland.

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Aoife O'Mara is a travel-hungry 21-year-old from East Clare. Having returned from a gap year in Melbourne, she discovered a newfound appreciation for the place she calls home. Now studying communications and media production in Griffith College Dublin, she is also writing for the university's magazine. When not dreaming about future trips and adventures, she can be found petting dogs, exploring Ireland's lakes and rivers, and taking photos.