The Rock of Cashel is a historic site in County Tipperary, Ireland. It is a large limestone outcrop, which provides a dramatic backdrop to the town from which it takes its name, Cashel town. The site has been used as a stronghold since the Iron Age and features prominently in Irish history.
Rock of Cashel History
The Rock of Cashel, or Cashel castle is a medieval Irish castle near the town of Cashel, in County Tipperary. The Castle has been in place in some for since the 4th century and evolved over the years to become an impressive group of buildings that include a round tower and high cross, Romanesque Chapel, a 13th century cathedral, and the 15th century castle.
The Rock of Cashel was the seat of many great High Kings of Ireland, the most famous being Brian Boru who ruled from this seat for 20 years. Brian Boru was the high king of Ireland and is considered to be one of the most important figures in Irish history. He was born in 941 AD and died in 1014 AD, making him a contemporary of King Henry I of England.
He was born into a wealthy family and by the age of twenty-two he had become a major landowner. His father died when he was only eight years old and his mother remarried an Irish chieftain who became his stepfather. The marriage between his mother and stepfather did not last long, as she left him for another man shortly after their marriage.
Brian Boru had many roles throughout his life including that of a farmer, soldier, king, poet, scholar, diplomat, statesman and churchman. Of all these roles, he is most well known as a battle king, and defeating his enemies at the battle of Clontarf in 1014 to unify Ireland.
Rock of Cashel Facts
- The rock itself is an imposing double-peaked limestone outcrop that rises over 200 feet (61 m) above the plain below, giving fantastic views of the surrounding tipperary countryside.
- The rock is over 1000 years old.
- There are two summits: one of them, called "the Priest's Rock", has an opening leading to the bedrock on which it stands; the other peak may be ascended by stairs or by climbing the steep slopes on either side.
- Cashel comes from the Irish Caiseal which stands for Strong Fort
- The Rock is also known widely as St. Patrick’s Rock (Carraig Phádraig) and Cashel of the Kings.
- Cormac's chapel is one of the oldest examples of Romanesque architecture in Ireland.
- As is typical of Christian sites in Ireland, the rock was most likely a place of importance to the druids. It is likely the rock was used to celebrate fire festivals such as Samhain and Lughnasa.
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