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 on an outcrop of limestone. Here is everything you need to know about the Rock of Cashel.

The Rock of Cashel is home to the most remarkable collections of medieval buildings in Ireland.

Cashel is Ireland’s next must-visit destination, located in the heart of the historic town of 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, towering over a grassy plain. It is home to over 1,000 years of Irish history.

Originally built as a fortress for the ancient 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 the 12th century, 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, becoming one of the most spectacular tourist attractions in Ireland.

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 that 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. 

This Gothic cathedral is considered to be one of the best places to visit in Ireland, so it attracts a lot of visitors. The busiest time is in the afternoon. As such, we suggest visiting the historic site either in the morning or late afternoon and evening.

By visiting this ancient 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 limestone outcrop, this site keeps watch over Cashel town centre below.

You will feel as though you have been transported back in time at this Romanesque church. 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 that can all be seen today. The oldest of these painting dates back to approximately 1134, and they are truly breathtaking.

Rather than being an actual castle, the majority of buildings here are ecclesiastical buildings and structures that date from the 12th and 13th centuries. One of the most impressive examples of medieval architecture is the 13th century cathedral.

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 from the archaeological sites of 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, as well as the stunning vistas for miles around.

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 spectacular tourist attractions in all of Ireland.

FAQs about the Rock of Cashel

Why is the Rock of Cashel important?

The Rock of Cashel is one of the most incredible historical sites in Ireland. With origins as a centre of power stretching back as far as the 4th and 5th century, it gives an insight into Ireland’s fascinating past.

Who is buried at the Rock of Cashel?

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

Why is it called the Rock of Cashel?

‘Cashel’ means ‘stone fort’. So, this name suggests that there was, at one time, a stone fort here.

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