Rock of Cashel

Cashel-Tipperary , County Tipperary , Ireland

About Rock of Cashel

The Rock of Cashel (Carraig Phádraig) in Ireland is a medieval complex steeped in centuries of history, both royal and ecclesiastical.

It is thought that the first main structures to be built on the site of the Rock of Cashel were erected in the fourth or fifth century AD. Said to have been founded by Conall Corc, King of Munster, it would become the royal residence of the Eóganacht Dynasty, rulers of Southern Ireland between the seventh and tenth centuries. This was the only dynasty at the time whose members were eligible to become overkings.

However, most of the structures found today at the Rock of Cashel date not to the time of the Eóganacht Dynasty, but to between the twelfth and fifteenth centuries. These were built after the Eóganacht were ousted from power by the kings of Dál Cais in the tenth century. In 1101, the then king of Dál Cais, Muircheartach Ua Briain, gave the Rock of Cashel to the Church. Most of the historic sites seen there today were built under the remit of the church.

The sites include the twelfth century Round Tower and Cormac’s Chapel, the latter being a pretty Romanesque church. However the largest structure is the cathedral, initially constructed in the thirteenth century.

Tradition has it that King Aengus was converted at Cashel by St. Patrick, who travelled there and performed the monarch’s baptism. The story goes that St. Patrick pierced the king’s foot accidentally during the ceremony, but that the king remained silent, thinking it was part of the ritual.

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