Whether you walk, drive or cycle to the town of Cashel you will have a wonderful view of the Rock of Cashel (adult/senior citizen/child & student €6/4/2; 9am-3.45pm mid Oct-mid Mar, 9am-4.45pm mid Mar-early Jun, 9am-6.45pm early Jun-mid Sep, 9.00am-4.45pm mid Sep-mid Oct). It stands high overlooking the town and attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors each year. Nominated for listing as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Rock is a remarkable collection of Early and Late Medieval religious structures that dominates the skyline and demands to be visited. Cashel however, is not just the Rock. To fully understand this amazing site you have to go down into the town.
Your first port of call should be the Heritage Centre and Tourist Office (9.30am-5.30pm all week Mar-Oct, 9.30am-5.30pm Mon-Fri Nov-Feb ). Amongst the artefacts on display in the small but interesting museum are the town’s 17th century charters. The staff on duty will be able to assist with all your queries and advise on how to best enjoy your visit to Cashel.
A great thing to do is to take high tea in the Cashel Palace Hotel. Once the residence for the local Church of Ireland Bishops, this Queen Anne style house provides visitors with an appreciation of life for the elite in Georgian Ireland. In the back garden is a public walkway that leads directly to the Rock. Just below the Rock is the Brú Ború Cultural Centre. During the summer the Centre offers a jam packed programme of music, song and dance from Tuesday to Saturday.
Only a short walk away are the ruins of St. Dominic’s Abbey which was founded in 1243. Unfortunately it is not open to the public but may be viewed from the outside. Across from the abbey is the Cashel Folk Village and Museum (adult/senior citizen & student/child €5/3.50/2; 9.30am-4.30pm Jan-mid Mar; 9.30am-5.30pm mid Mar- mid Jun, 9am-7.30pm mid Jun-mid Sep, 9.30am-5.30pm mid Sep-mid Oct, 9.30am-4.30pm mid Oct-mid Dec). The privately run museum has a wonderfully peculiar collection of fascinating memorabilia focusing on Irish history and culture.
As you head into the town and onto Main Street you will see Kearney’s Castle Hotel. This hotel was once a 15th century tower house. Just off Main Street is John Street with its elegant Georgian houses. At the top of this street is the Cathedral Church of St Patrick’s Rock and St John the Baptist. On the grounds of this Cathedral is the Bolton Library which houses almost 12,000 volumes of antiquarian books and silverware (10am-3pm Mon-Wed, 10am-2.30pm Thu). Parts of the 13th century town walls surround the Church and Library and there are four wonderful carved stone effigies to be seen.
Only one kilometre outside the town and viewable from the top of the Rock is Hore Abbey. This excellently preserved Cistercian Abbey is easily accessible and offers visitors a great appreciation of the size and importance of medieval abbeys. During the Summer it’s impressive ruins offer a bit of peace and quiet from the large crowds up on the Rock.
For more things to do in Cashel, see here.