Having recently returned from a few days in Ireland (the second time in 3 years) I thought I should write about some of the places I have been. As there are separate categories on Dooyoo for many of the places I have been then Ill start here at Cashel with the Rock of Cashel.
Cashel was not somewhere I had heard of but in terms of size its a fairly mid-range town for Ireland, there are a fair few shops and a few places to see. Its also a busy tourist area. My brother in law mentioned about it as it is a famous archeological site and him being an Indiana Jones type (currently working on an IT helpdesk) wanted to go.
The main place we went was the Rock of Cashel which used to house the Kings of Munster. Obviously as a result of this there is a fairly steep hill to get up to the Fortress although for disabled access there are a couple of spaces near the main entrance (arrange prior to visit) and a large car park at the base of the rock. You pay 4 Euros for a whole days parking, although many people are fairly friendly and seem happy to offer you their pass if they are leaving.
On the rock there are a few buildings. The main entrance building (Hall of the Vicars) houses a few bits of rare silverware and weapons and also St Patricks cross. Also in this building there is a short film you can watch that takes about 20 minutes that explains the history of the site. It is run regularly in different languages (English, German, French and Italian) so check what time your preferred language is being run.
The cathedral and attached round tower are the main focal point of the visit. There is a large amount of restoration work going on so some of the areas are out of bounds but you can still see more than enough. The round tower is very well restored and is absolutely massive, I tried to take a photo from the base but it was hard to get everything in. There of course used to be a roof to the cathedral however this has obviously gone so make sure you take an umbrella if its a wet day. When you wander around the cathedral there many statues and carvings and also tombs and some artwork that is in the process of being restored. The bell tower in the centre of the cathedral is also a excellent thing to see as it is in very good condition and is very impressive.
Of course you can do a guided tour and we occasionally caught up with one during our visit, you should book this in advance if you wish to have one and they take around 45 minutes.
Round the base of the cathedral there is a cemetery and apparently one of my wifes cousins was recently buried there, although we couldnt find the grave.
All in all it took about 1 ½ hours to get round and costs about 5 Euros each. Its about 60km from Limerick through Tipperary, and once you are in Cashel its easy to spot as its the highest point around and is also well signposted, although I wouldnt suggest trying to navigate round the town on your own.
After leaving the rock you can visit an abbey in the town, however you need to get the key from someones house nearby. Also you can go on a walk to see a couple more historic sites from the base of the rock, however we were quite busy that day so didnt really have time to stop.
Back in the car park there is a tourist shop nearby and also Bru Boru, which is a national heritage centre. Its main function is that it is home to the study and celebration of Irish entertainment. They have regular shows on Tuesdays Sundays, during the summer in the evenings, all featuring traditional Irish entertainments.
So all in all a good place to visit and spend an afternoon and evening exploring.