Big! I'll give it that.

Trip Start May 09, 2011
Trip End May 16, 2011

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What I did
Rock of Cashel
Read my review - 3/5 stars

Flag of Ireland  , County Tipperary,
Saturday, May 14, 2011

The Rock of Cashel was practically the main attraction I wanted to visit while in Ireland. I read it was the top place to visit in Ireland. Plus, it looked rather cool and had a cool name so naturally I was attracted.

Upon first entering Cashel, it didn't take long to notice the great ruin perched high on a stony mountain. It would seem simple enough to just keep it in your view and it'll lead you right to it. Not so simple for as in most towns/cities we entered, it was easy to get turned around. But we quickly got back on track and parked the car at its base.

Another parking lot that only takes exact change. Not so smart in my book, considering this parking lot had an automatic gate, so if you didn't have the were stuck there. Not a problem for us...but for another unfortunate couple...(they did find someone to break their larger bill thankfully).

My first initial reaction to the structure was a huge SIGH! The first thing I noticed was all the high scaffolding blocking my view of this magnificent creation. Another damn renovation project! First outside Poppies, then Boyle Abbey, now this. And Athlone Castle was on our itinerary too but we cut it out cause they were closed for renovations. Geeez!!

Walking up the hill towards the entrance, we surveyed the base of the castle. Like a fantasy tale told by Grandad, the walls literally seemed to extend up from within the rock it perched on: a castle grown out of stone. It was just remarkable and interesting to envision places like this being built and used.

Just inside was a room with some interesting artifacts and carvings. Some goblets and tools from the Bronze Age. Then we had to go back out a door in the back of the room, walked about 30 ft across the ground, then inside the ruin itself. It was quite impressive on the inside, high high walls towered over us and once again I just gazed up thinking, "how the hell does something like this get built...and survive all these years??" It just boggles my mind. The sculptures up high, the perfect archways, the architecture alone for crying out loud. They didn't have construction crews back then. A section was closed off (of course) due to the renovation.

It was a cool and drizzly day and being up on a hill created some heavy gusts so it was a bit frigid outside the walls. Inside, there was no roof to protect from any rain, but the walls provided a strong shield from the wind. It only sprinkled for a bit.

Out back was a graveyard, like all castles practically, and we did learn that any descendants of those buried in these yards, have every right to be buried there themselves. We ran around in the cold, capturing some photos that didn't come out all great cause of the changing weather. I seem to enjoy taking photos of buildings as a backdrop while a headstone or cross or statue or something stands prominently in the foreground. When Jolene decided to go inside to escape the cold...we somehow lost each other.

Apparently, she was upstairs in the shop and I walked right by and left the building as they were beginning to close. Since I had no idea where she was and once out I could not go back in, I went down, through a gate, and walked along a pedestrian path along the bottom of the hill to snap some photos of the grazing sheep and the church ruins down below inside the field. I called a sheep to get some attention...and one of them would not shut up after wards. :)

All in all, it was definitely impressive...but wished for more. Maybe some was because of the cold and rain. Definitely the renovations caused a big part of my disappointment. We couldn't climb any stairs, they were all blocked off, also. Not a horrible place by far. Just hope for more next time.
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