Rock of Cashel
A combination of atmospheric ruins and restored buildings, it's a must-visit for those interested in early Celtic culture, and is located less than an hour's drive from the Radisson Blu Hotel & Spa, Cork.
About the Rock of CashelThe Rock of Cashel was the seat of the High Kings of Munster in the centuries preceding the Norman Invasion, and is allegedly the site where King Aenghus was converted by St. Patrick in the 5th century.
In 1101, the King of Munster donated the site to the Church, and it subsequently became an important religious establishment in Ireland. This status it enjoyed until 1749, when the site was for the most part abandoned and gradually fell into ruin.
The oldest part of the Rock complex is the 12th century round tower, which is largely intact and would once have served as the bell tower for this significant ecclesiastical site. St. Patrick's Cross, a Celtic high cross now kept indoors, dates from the same period, as does the slightly later Cormac's Chapel, a sophisticated Romanesque structure attributed to King Cormac Mac Carthaigh.
Other highlights include the 13th-century Gothic cruciform cathedral and the attached Hall of the Vicars Choral, which would have once housed the group of laymen and clerics responsible for chanting the services.
In the 20th century the site has grown in popularity as a tourist attraction, with certain buildings being restored and important frescos in Cormac's Chapel currently undergoing conservation.