Photographer's Note

The Rock of Cashel, also known as Cashel of the Kings, or St Patricks Rock, is one of the most iconic and well known sites in Ireland, sitting as it does on a rocky plateau overlooking the South Tipperary countryside.

The Rock of Cashel was the traditional seat of the kings of Munster for several hundred years prior to the Norman invasion. In 1101, the King of Munster, Muirchertach Ui Briain, donated his fortress on the Rock to the Church. The picturesque complex has a character of its own and is one of the most remarkable collections of Celtic art and medieval architecture to be found anywhere in Europe.

Although the site itself is much older, most of the buildings here today are from the 12th and 13th centuries. The oldest and tallest structure is the round tower (pictured here on the left) which is 90 feet tall and dates from app 1100. The large gothic windows in the larger structure in the middle of the picture are the exterior of the North Transept of the Cathedral. This was built between 1235 and 1270 is an aisleless cathedral.

In 1647, during the Irish Confederate Wars, Cashel was sacked by English Parliamentarian troops. The Irish confederate troops stationed there were massacred as were all of the Roman Catholic clergy. The English troops looted or destroyed many important religious artifacts.

In 1749 the main cathedral roof was removed by Arthur Price, the Anglican Archbishop of Cashel. In the meantime, what remained of the Rock of Cashel after Price had ordered its gutting and de-roofing, has become a primary tourist destination. Price's decision to remove the roof on what had been the jewel among Irish church buildings was criticised before and since.

The entire plateau on which the buildings and graveyard lie is walled in. In the grounds around the buildings an extensive graveyard includes a number of high crosses. The statue to the right of the shot is one of the many carved gravestones here.

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Additional Photos by Noel Byrne (Noel_Byrne) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4173 W: 26 N: 9238] (33764)
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