Rock of Cashel

Set on a dramatic outcrop of limestone in the Golden Vale, the Rock of Cashel, iconic in its historic significance, possesses the most impressive cluster.

Visit Rock of Cashel

The Rock of Cashel location on an impressive limestone outcrop in the Golden Vale, and its historic significance, make it a remarkable site. The cluster of medieval structures, including a Gothic cathedral, fifteenth-century Tower House, round tower, and Romanesque chapel, further enhance its grandeur.

The Rock of Cashel boasts a rich history that involves the kings of Munster, St. Patrick’s visit to convert King Aenghus to Christianity, and 978’s coronation of Brian Boru as High King. Since it was granted to the church in 1101, Cashel has wielded significant ecclesiastical power in the country.

The surviving buildings on the Rock of Cashel hold great historical significance, with Cormac’s Chapel containing Ireland’s sole remaining Romanesque frescoes. This iconic heritage site is a major visitor attraction in Ireland, and its magnificence justifies its reputation.

The Rock of Cashel

A Viking past

Located at the back, there is a subtle reference to Ireland’s Viking origins. An intricately decorated sarcophagus, rumoured to encase the remains of King Cormac’s sibling Tadhg, features a design of two intertwined creatures – a symbol believed to bestow blessings for an endless existence. 

The circular tower, constructed in 1100 and standing impressively at a height of 28 meters, is deemed to be the Rock’s most ancient structure still surviving. Although ascending the tower is no longer permissible, the panoramic vistas it affords are nothing short of breathtaking. 

With its symbols of eternal life, historical heritage dating back centuries, and enduring legacy etched in stone, there is scarce room for debate that the Rock of Cashel reigns supreme as a true ‘rock star’.

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The Rock of Cashel has a long and interesting history. According to legend, St. Patrick banished Satan from a cave on the Devil’s Bit, which caused the rock to settle at Cashel. The current Cathedral, built between 1235 and 1270, is a notable example of an aisle-less cruciform structure with a central tower and a residential castle to the west. 

The Hall of the Vicars Choral, built in the fifteenth century, has accommodated eight vicars choral initially. Today, it serves as the entrance to the site after being restored by the Office of Public Works in connection with the 1975 European Architectural Heritage Year. 

Unfortunately, in 1647, the Rock of Cashel was ravaged by an English Parliamentarian troop under Murrough O’Brien, 1st Earl of Inchiquin. In 1749, Archbishop Arthur Price dismantled the main cathedral roof, leaving only the cemetery, which encircles the buildings containing many high crosses such as Scully’s Cross. 

However, the upper half of this cross was obliterated in 1976 after being struck by lightning. The fragments now nestle at the base of the wall that encircles the cross.

How did this formidable royal become a church?

The Rock of Cashel holds historical and spiritual significance, as it was the reputed site of an early Munster King’s baptism by Saint Patrick. The site wielded political power along with its spiritual influence. In 1101, the King of Munster donated the site to the Catholic Church to foster good relations with them. 

Subsequently, the Church demolished the original structures, and the 12th and 13th-century buildings stand in their place currently. The Round Tower stands out among the buildings, being built using “dry stone” construction, without mortar. 

Another fascinating part of the complex is Cormac’s Chapel, named after King Cormac. The intricate chapel incorporates beautiful frescoes and a perfect blend of continental European and Irish features. Finally, the grand 13th-century Cathedral with its large tower and the Hall of Vicars, added in the 1400s, are noteworthy buildings at the site.

The Rock of Cashel today

Cashel remains one of the most remarkable and magnificent attractions in Ireland. The extensive views that overlook the verdant Tipperary landscape add to its charm, and the ruins, particularly the Romanesque chapel, are idyllic. 

Nevertheless, it is essential to note that, except for early or late periods, the site is often crowded with large coach groups. Therefore, if you desire a serene and tranquil experience while visiting this ancient site, it is of utmost importance to be attentive to this fact. 

It’s worth noting that Cormac’s Chapel provides access by guided tour only; thus, you will need to book at the entrance. Parking is available in town and is followed by a brief (500m) walk to the rock itself. It’s important that you follow this protocol to avoid any inconvenience from the locals.


All visitors must have a ticket 

Tickets can be booked online

Adult: €8.00
Group/Senior: €6.00
Child/Student: €4.00
Family: €20.00

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