If you say you’re going to The Rock in California, everyone would assume you’re going to Alcatraz in San Francisco Bay, but in Ireland its the Rock of Cashel in County Tipperary.
Also known as Cashel of the Kings and St. Patrick’s Rock, this hilltop ruin is immersed in legend and history. Irish myths tell that the hill was formed when the Devil took a bite out of a mountain 20 miles north and spit it out on the plain as he was fleeing from St. Patrick. The Devil’s Bite, as the mountain is called, does look like a huge bite was taken out of it.
It is also reputed to be the site where St. Patrick converted the last pagan King of Munster to Christianity in the 5th century. For many centuries afterwards, it was the seat of the Kings of Munster. In the 12th century, it was donated to the church, who built a cathedral on the hill.
You can clearly see The Rock from any direction as you approach. It is a magnificent example of Celtic stone work and architecture. We highly recommend taking the open tour, about 45 minutes, to learn about the site. Since it is a very popular tourist spot, you’ll want to get there early before the loads of tour buses arrive.
The round tower reminded Elijah of every Disney fairy tale princess tower in movies. He was bummed that he couldn’t scale it. You aren’t even allowed inside for safety reasons.
Across from The Rock of Cashel is a less visited ruin of an old abbey. We packed a picnic lunch and headed over to see it. You have to be careful to dodge the minefield of cow patties on the way. The ruins themselves were impressive, but they also offered an amazing look back on The Rock.
Elijah’s favorite activity was exploring old ruins.
Next up, Elijah made us detour to the most haunted house in Ireland!