I am not certain that I have words to express how stunning the Rock of Cashel is.
Fortunately, I have tons of gorgeous photos.
Actually, I think these are some of the most spectacular photos we have captured to date – and it isn’t on our account. The surreal scenery and unbelievable lighting did all the work for us.
Crumbling castles + Golden Sunset + Fluffy Sheep = bomb photos.
This is proven math, people.
We rolled up to Cashel as our final stop on our way home to Dublin at 6:30 pm – just in time for the castle to be closing its doors to tours. Scaffolding was crawling up over nearly half of the castle, which was unfortunate, but something I have gotten used to through our extensive European travels. Gotta fix old stuff and keep it standing for us tourists.
We were only slightly bummed to miss the opening hours but a kind old tour guide popped his head out of the entry door and suggested that we take a hike down the hill and through the pasture to the old abbey and explore those ruins.
Over the hill and through the pasture, to crumbling old church we go….
We were instantly rewarded with stunning views as we approached these free standing wall-sunlight pouring through the open window and missing roof tops. Bright green moss seems to grow on everything in Ireland, giving all of the walls a eerie green tinge.
A little history about Cashel and why it is an essential stop on any Irish tour. Located just off the highway, halfway between Kinsale and Dublin, it is an easy, essential stop to include:
Local mythology holds that the Rock of Cashel landed in its current location after St. Patrick banished Satan from a cave in the Devil’s Bit, a mountain north of Cashel. It is also the site of the religious conversion of the King of Munster by St. Patrick in the 5th century. Originally a fortress, it was donated to the church in 1101.
With buildings dating from the 12th century, it is one of the best standing examples of medieval architecture in Ireland and Europe. It is also host to a collection of Celtic art work. The site offers 45 minute guided tours for the large amounts of tourists that flock to this site each year. They open at 9am everyday and close at varying times in the afternoon, depending on the season. More information here.
It also happens to be a spectacular place to just wander around.
On our way back up, we passed a group of three darling little girls, singing and skipping with their dog ahead of another woman. After they had passed us and we reached a crest, I turned around to take another look at the church in the landscape and was completely floored at the scene before my eyes.
If I could find this family again, I would love nothing more than to give them this photo. Maybe it is just the stunning light pouring over the landscape, maybe it is the joy and whimsy of the thought of these young girls going to go play in the ruins of a centuries old abbey. But this photo speaks to me. I have two older sisters- perhaps its is that.
But if you are out there, adorable Irish family, please email me. This shot is yours.
Cashel seemed to have a number of cute shops and places to dine- including in a retired church, but most were closed by the time we made it back. We managed to stop for a pint at Donoghue’s on our way out of this sleepy town before making the final leg up to Dublin.
Only a few more posts on Ireland left coming, including a roadmaps and detailed itinerary for creating your own trip. Though mostly photos, I wanted to share this post with you to give a visual sense of how magical Ireland is.
Can you feel it??