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The Rock of Cashel

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Standing aloof from the surrounding plains, is the great 4th century fortification of Cashel - the stone fort. This was the seat of kings and mediaeval bishops for 900 years and flourished until the early 17th century. Indeed there was a settlement here from pre-Christian times, traces of which have long since vanished.

The original forbidding fortification of the Eoghanachta, kings of Munster, witnessed the struggle for dominance of Munster kings over the whole of Ireland. Brian Ború was crowned King of Munster here in 977 and he became High King of Ireland in 1002. He was the first high king to exact universal and effective tribute from the other kings of Ireland.

Interwoven into the turbulent history of the 'Rock' is an impressive ecclesiastical fabric which spans the Middle Ages. In the 5th century St Patrick converted Aenghus, the king of the time, and made Cashel a bishopric. In 1101 Muircheartach O'Brien granted the Rock to the Church and in 1127, the bishop Cormac MacCarthy, started work on a Chapel which survives to this day and is the most remarkable Romanesque church in the country. A round tower was added about this time. The largest building on the Rock is the 13th century cathedral and all in all the complex represents the most impressive mediaeval collection of buildings in Ireland.

The great monument in stone has seen war and peace, scholarship and devotion over a millennium and a half. It is fitting, therefore, that once again, the great traditions of learning and art which kept the flame of scholarship alight in a Europe dimmed by the Dark Ages, should have an echo at Cashel today.

Brú Ború - The palace of Ború - is a national heritage centre at the foot of the Rock of Cashel. This cultural and interpretative village is designed around a village green and is home to the study and celebration of native Irish music, song, dance, story telling, theatre and Celtic studies.

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