The Rock of Cashel, dominating the skyline for miles around Cashel Town, is one of the most visited heritage sites in the country, so be warned. Essentially this is a stunning outcrop sitting 200 metres above the plains of Tipperary, offering majestic views of the Galty, Knockmealdown and Comeragh Mountains. Among the buildings worth checking out here are the 92 foot sandstone round tower, Cormac’s Chapel, the Cathedral, the 15th century Hall of the Vicars Choral and Saint Paddy’s Cross.
The ruins are all that remain of this once formidable Royal Palace, seat of the Kings of Munster from 370AD through to 1101, when the incumbent King, Murtagh O’Brien, granted it to the Church, dedicating it to “God, St. Patrick and St. Ailbhe”.St. Patrick visited Cashel in 450AD and baptised King Aengus and his brothers at what is called the Coronation Stone. Apparently St. Pat slipped during the ceremony and drove his crozier through the King’s foot but thinking this was all part of the baptismal rite, the brave monarch bit his tongue and bore the pain. The Rock itself is said to have come from the Devil’s Bit Mountain south of Roscrea, after which a potent local cider is named. Apparently the Devil was in a terrible humour with a local king one morning, took a bite out of the Devil’s Bit Mountain, didn’t like the taste and spat it out so that the chunk landed 22 miles away at Cashel.