Rockin’ the Cashel: The Rock of Cashel

March 13, 2013 — It wouldn’t surprise me if the Rock of Cashel wasn’t on our original Ireland itinerary. That we  just happened to drive past and saw its edifices high up on the limestone outcropping like a real-life City on the Edge of Forever. That it pulled us to itself by sheer power of presence alone. It’s an amazing site, and cinematic as all get out. And it took us back in time as surely as the Guardian of Forever.

The Rock is crowned by a complex of medieval ruins from buildings erected over the span of centuries, with the earliest dating as far back as the early 12th century. The rock is said to have been created by the Devil, who spat it out after biting a local mountain chain, that it was the place where the Kings of Munster ruled, and that St. Patrick himself visited it and converted one of those kings to Christianity. A place this grand needs a grand back story. As for the complex itself, it was originally a fortress and later an ecclesiastical center. So towers, walls, and churches.

We found ourselves virtually alone there somehow and wandered through its massive, vertically sweeping walls, accompanied only by the sounds of birds from their perches throughout the roofless buildings…as if the sky were the only thing capable of topping such a place.

Outside, it had a magnificent graveyard full of mossy Celtic crosses and a vast view in multiple stunning shades of green that told me beyond a doubt and probably better than any other site I visited on that trip, “You’re in Ireland.”