|Oops! Going the wrong way!!|
Rock of Cashel is a historical site also known as the Cashel of the Kings. We arrived just in time for the guided tour. The Rock of Cashel was the traditional seat of the kings of Munster for several hundred years prior to the Norman Invasion. In 1101, the King of Munster, donated his fortress on the Rock to the Church. There is also a legend that St. Patrick came to the Rock and baptized one of the kings.
|The buildings on the Rock|
The first stop on our tour was Cormac's Chapel. Construction began in 1127 and the chapel was consecrated in 1134. The Irish Abbot of Regensberg sent two of his carpenters to help in the work and the chapel is similar in design to St. James Abbey in Regensberg. The Chapel contains one of the best preserved Irish frescoes from this time period. The Chapel was constructed primarily of sandstone which has become water logged over the centuries, significantly damaging the interior frescos. Restoration and preservation required the chapel be completely enclosed in a rain-proof structure with interior dehumidifiers to dry out the stone. This is an ongoing project.
|Restoration in progress|
|A view of the tower from the Cathedral|
|From the back of the Cathedral|
|The Archbishop's residence|
|St. Patrick's Cross|
The oldest and tallest of the buildings is the well preserved round tower, dating from 1100. Its entrance is 12 feet from the ground. The tower has been closed off and visitors are not allowed to enter the round tower.
|The tower and high cross|
|The door to the tower|
We also visited the “Hall of The Vicars Choral,” as it’s known, the home to the choir in medieval times. It was built in the fifteenth century. The vicors choral were laymen appointed to assist in chanting the cathedral services. The building has been restored using the same methods that were used in the original building. Furnishings have been added and there are beautiful examples of tapestries hanging on the wall.
The entire plateau on which the buildings and graveyard lie is walled. In the grounds around the buildings an extensive graveyard includes a number of high crosses. Scully's Cross, one of the largest and most famous high crosses here, originally constructed in 1867 to commemorate the Scully family, was destroyed in 1976 when lightning struck a metal rod that ran the length of the cross. The remains of the top of the cross now lie at the base of the cross adjacent to the rock wall.
|Scully's high cross|
|The top of the cross after the lightening storm of 1976|
Our tour guide was very knowledgeable and made the tour very enjoyable, adding interesting stories and historical anecdotes.
|Our tour guide|
Following the tour we went for a drive around Cashel and found Bailey's Hotel. If we are ever back this way we will have to make a point of staying there.
|Bailey's in Cashel|
We continued on to Dublin and dropped off the rental car at the airport. We took a shuttle bus to downtown Dublin and then walked to The Belvedere, where we will be staying for the next three days.