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Rock of Cashel

Cashel (Caiseal, meaning "stone ringfort") is a town in County Tipperary in Ireland. Its population in 2016 was only 4422, but it's one of Ireland's top tourist draws: the Rock of Cashel is a limestone outcrop with a collection of important medieval sites.

The TIC is on Main Street at the entrance to the Folk Village.

Get in[edit]

Expressway Bus X8 runs every two hours from Dublin Airport, Busáras and Heuston station to Cashel, 2 hr 30 min, continuing south to Cahir, Fermoy and Cork.

Kavanagh's Bus 394 runs twice a day between Clonmel and Cashel, one hour, and continues to Holycross and Thurles. Buses to Tipperary and Limerick are axed.

By car follow M8 from Dublin.

Get around[edit]

Walk, the town is compact. You only need wheels to reach Golden and Athassel Priory.

See[edit]

  • 1 Rock of Cashel (Carraig Phádraig, St Patrick's Rock), +353 62 61437, . Daily Sept-May 09:00-17:00, June-Aug 09:00-19:00. One of Ireland's top sights, mobbed by coach tours in summer, a fortified enclosure on a limestone outcrop. This natural stronghold has probably been settled for millennia; legend says that the devil took a bite out a mountain 30 km north, broke his teeth, and spat out the rock which landed here. The first documented occupants were the Eóganachta, who ruled Munster from the 6th to 10th C AD. They were ousted by the O'Briens under Brian Boru, whose great-grandson King Muircheartach O'Brien gifted the site to the church in 1101. Park at the foot of the rock and follow the walkway. Enter through the Hall of the Vicars Choral, built 15th C to house the cathedral choristers. Then pass through the cathedral (13th C Gothic) and Archbishop's Residence (15th C), with the Round Tower (11th / 12th C) by one corner. The highlight is the Romanesque Cormac's Chapel, completed in 1127 - give your eyes time to adjust to the gloom, to pick out the rich carvings and frescos. There are High Crosses in the graveyard. Adult €8, Senior €6, Child/Student €4. Rock of Cashel (Q1255597) on Wikidata Rock of Cashel on Wikipedia
  • Brú Ború, Rock Cottage, 1 Rock Lane (By Rock of Cashel car park), +353 62 61122. It's primarily a performance venue for Irish music, song, dance and theatre, with shows Jul Aug Tu-Sa at 21:00. It also has a genealogy centre and restaurant.
  • St Dominic's Abbey is the ruin 300 m south of the Rock. It was a Dominican abbey founded in 1243 and dissolved in 1540, though diehard friars were somehow still there 300 years later. It's free to stroll around anytime.
  • 2 Folk Village, Dominic St, +353 87 915 1316. Apr - mid-Oct M-Sa 10:15-20:00, Su 11:00-20:00. Reconstruction of thatched village shops, a forge, and other businesses, together with a penal Chapel, IRA museum and AV presentation of events of 1916-1923. Adult €7, child €4, conc €6.
  • On Main Street note the Fountain.
  • 3 St John's Cathedral is Anglican C of I, a Georgian building on John St.
  • The Bolton Library is a remarkable collection of antiquarian books, which as of 2020 cannot be visited. They were amassed by Theophilus Bolton, Archbishop of Cashel 1730-1744. They include a 12th century manuscript, the Nuremberg Chronicle of 1493 and works by Dante, Swift, Calvin, Erasmus, Machiavelli and the physicist Robert Boyle. Several bear library stamps showing ownership by Catherine of Aragon, or Francis Bacon. After Bolton died, the library remained in the archbishop's palace for almost a century then was moved to the chapter house of St John's Cathedral. Conditions there were unsuitable and many books deteriorated. In 1995 the collection passed into the care of the University of Limerick: their task of stabilising, restoring and cataloguing the contents continues. The books are now in the Glucksman Library on UL's Castletroy campus; it's not known when or where they might be exhibited.
  • A few scraps of the city walls survive just south of the cathedral.
  • St John the Baptist is the RC church facing the cathedral on Friar St. It was completed in 1795 over the site of a Franciscan friary.
  • 4 Kearney's Castle, 15 Main St. Closed. Just admire the exterior of this 15th century tower house, which was used as a garrison by Lord Inchiquin's Parliamentarian army. The Kearney family lived in the building for many years, and Fr. John Kearney was hanged in the castle in 1652. The building in modern times was a hotel but this closed in 2016.
Hore Abbey
  • 5 Hore Abbey (Mainistir Iubhair), Loughnafina, Cashel (1 km west of the Rock). 24 hours. This monastery was founded by the Benedictines in the late 12th C, but in 1270 was granted to the Cistercians. The legend goes that the Archbishop ejected the Benedictines because he dreamed they planned to murder him. This doesn't seem likely, it was everyone else in town that was sharpening their knives for him, and there may have been an England versus Ireland twist to it. The abbey fell into ruin at the Dissolution. Free. Hore Abbey (Q1628074) on Wikidata Hore Abbey on Wikipedia
  • 6 Golden Castle is one helluva name to give to the dilapidated stump on the island in the River Suir. "Golden" is the Anglicised version of An Gabhailín, "The Grange", though the richness of the farmland is indeed precious. You only come this way along N74 to reach the Priory, turn south here and see below.
  • 7 Athassel Priory, Athassel North, Golden (7 km southwest of Cashel). Extensive riverside priory founded by the Augustinians in the late 12th century. It was energetically built up and equally energetically burned down, as was the adjacent village, and finally ruined by the 16th C Reformation.

Do[edit]

Golden Castle: just a stump
  • 1 Tipperary Raceway, Tullamain, Rosegreen. This track midway between Cashel and Fethard stages Karting, Hot Rod, Stock Car and Banger Racing.
  • Angling for salmon and trout on the river Suir is 17 March-30 September. Angling licences needed, you can buy from Casale 2000 sports shop at 4 Bank Place, Cashel.
  • Walk: The Tipperary Heritage Way is a 55 km trail from The Vee above Goatenbridge via Cahir along the course of the River Suir. The northmost section is 11 km between Cashel and Golden: from the Rock, head west along the lane to the river bank, and follow the waymarked trail.

Buy[edit]

  • The main strip for supermarkets is south along Cahir Road, with Aldi, Lidl and Tesco (which has fuel).

Eat[edit]

  • Morelli's, 4 Bank Place, Lady's Well, +353 87 774 5641. Daily 12:00-00:00. Cheap and cheerful place, eat in or takeaway burgers, chips, sausages, fish, wings, pasta and pizza.
  • 1 Chez Hans, Moor Lane, +353 62 61177. W-Sa 18:00-22:00, Su 12:30-15:30. Upmarket restaurant in an old church, probably the best cuisine in the county.
  • Ruen Mying, bottom of Main St, +353 62 63801. Daily 16:00-22:30. Not that you'd admit to wanting a break from Irish, but here's a Thai.
  • A string of others on Main St includes Apache Pizza, Grogan's Cafe and Ice Cream, Oasis (in Fox's Bar), Saffron, Bowes, Mazzolas, Orchid Garden, Pearl Garden and Ladyswell.

Drink[edit]

  • Feehan's Bar, 105 Main St, +353 62 61929. Su-F 11:30-00:00, Sa 11:30-02:00. Friendly bar, serves food to 18:00-ish, but when it's gone it's gone.
  • Brian Boru Bar, 49 Main St, +353 62 63381, . M-Th 08:15-23:30, F 08:15-00:30, Sa 08:15-02:00, Su 09:00-23:00. Friendly place, decent food. Live music and DJ's Thursday-Monday.
  • Others west to east on main drag are TJ Ryan's, Fox's, Davern's, Mikey Ryan's, Donoghue's, City Bar, Billy Foley's, Byrne's and Gleesons.

Sleep[edit]

  • 1 O'Brien's Holiday Lodge and Campsite, Rock House, Mountjudkin, Cashel, +353 62 61003. B&B in 200 year-old granary, plus camping and caravan pitches. Clean, welcoming and well-run. B&B double €85, two-person tent €20.
  • 2 Cashel Holiday Hostel, 6 John St, +353 62 62330, . Budget place, gets very mixed reviews for cleanliness and comfort. Large common areas, kitchen and laundry facilities. Has dorm, they also run Cashel Town B&B next door. Dorm €16 ppn.
  • Cashel Town B & B, 5 John St E25 N564, +353 62 62330, . Fairly basic B&B with six rooms in a refurbished Georgian town house. B&B double €60.
  • Ashmore House, John St, +353 62 61286. Clean welcoming B&B behind the yellow door.
  • 3 Rockville House B&B, 10 Moore Lane, The Rock Industrial Park, +353 62 61760, . Check-in: 13:00-18:30, check-out: 09:30-10:00. Splendid little B&B with a great host. No dogs. B&B double €70.
  • Baileys Hotel, 42 Main St E25 XF79, +353 62 61937. Charming 1709 building with great comfort and dining. B&B double €140.
  • Cashel Palace Hotel is being refurbished and is due to re-open in mid-2021.

Connect[edit]

As of July 2020, there's a good mobile and 4G signal in town with all carriers, but the road through Golden to Tipperary is dead. 5G has not yet reached this area.

Cashel Public Library on Friar St is open M-Sa 09:30-17:00. Internet access is free for members.

Go next[edit]

  • Cahir has a castle on a river island, the fanciful Swiss Cottage, and Mitchelstown Cave.
  • Thurles: go to the races.
  • Waterford is an interesting harbour town.
This city travel guide to Cashel is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.