On our last whirlwind adventure in Ireland, we decided to wake up early and head to Rock of Cashel in Tipperary. Tipperary is a little more inland than what we have been traveling, but it was our last full day.
Loved the clever sign on our way out of Ballyseede Castle. Notice the reproduction William Morris wallpaper...!!!
So, Rock of Cashel...Rock of Cashel is known to be the site that Saint Patrick converted the King of Munster in the 5th Century. Rock had been the seat of the kings of Munster for hundreds of years before the Norman Invasion. In 1101, the King of Munster at the time donated his huge fortress to the church.
Most of the structures date from the 12th and 13th Centuries, hardly any of the original structures survive. Rock of Cashel has a variety of buildings. One being a round tower, Cormac's Chapel- the chapel of King Cormac Macarthy, which was finished in 1134. There is a huge chapel that was built in the 1200s and has an aisle-less plan. The Hall of the Vicars was built in the 15th Century as a place where choral chants were sung from during services.
Cormac's Cathedral was under renovations to help preserve the murals and Celtic art that adorns the walls. Lots of scaffolding was up all around.
A lot of ancient tombs and graves were dotted around the area.
There was also a redone hallway/living quarters of the Kings of Munster. You also got to view some of the relics of the kings that were recovered from digging sites around Rock of Cashel.
The outside of Rock of Cashel was beautiful. There were ancient graves with huge Celtic crosses with family symbols etched into them. There was also a pathway that lead you around the perimeter of Rock of Cashel, so you could look up and see the grand spectacle among the sheep pastures.
This was once Scully's Cross, tombs and markers of the Scully family, patrons of the church. The cross was erected in the late 1800s and then in the 1970s, a lightning storm struck the metal top of the cross, destroying it. It was once the largest of the Celtic crosses at Rock of Cashel.
We continued to be amazed at every site we ventured to. All of the landscape was so lush and green, even by the ocean, and excluding the Burren, which was a bare patch of mountains that extended to Cliffs of Moher.
After the Rock, we headed to Limerick. Limerick was NOT my favorite city. It was very dirty. It claimed to be the shopping capital of Ireland, but there seemed to be the same junky shoe stores in every block and really, how many Dunnes Stores(like our Macy's does a town need?). There was a castle ruin by the river, which if we had had more time, would have visited.
We did find a great pub in Limerick though, Glen Tavern. After a whirlwind of shopping, we sat down and enjoyed some pints.
Glen Tavern also had Guinness's Brewers' Project beer, Hop House 13, a hoppy lager perfect for summer days. Too bad it is only exclusive to Ireland...and ONLY Ireland. Matt has been drinking it wherever we could find it, it was that good.
We also got dinner at the tavern as well. We were very pleased with our last meal in Ireland.
It is true what they say about the Irish stew here. Every county does their version a little differently. In Dublin, the stew was thick and the broth was more of a gravy. They also used other veggies like turnips as well as carrots and potatoes. On the coast, the stew was more of a soup. The broth was thinner, more pieces of lamb, no turnips, just carrots and potatoes. Matt preferred the stew in Limerick. He said the meat was more tender and the broth had more flavor.
This will be the last full entry in our Ireland travels. Our trip is ending. It has been a wonderful experience and we are looking forward to doing it again, sooner, rather than later!!! Looking forward to getting back home to our house, our dog, and our families, but we are looking forward to our next trip to Ireland as well.
Check back for another entry with trip wrap ups, tips for Ireland travel, places to not go, places we would definitely do again, and other things! Thanks for reading! Slainte!