Rock of Cashell
Trip Start May 21, 2007
26Trip End Jun 01, 2007
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At the Gallery we ate a breakfast of "linen" pancakes (crepes?) with fresh fruit and ICE CREAM! Woo Hoo! Knowing this sugar/carb cocktail wouldn't last us long we swung into SuperValue before heading out of town. The post office was next door, so we finally remembered to mail the keys we'd forgotten to return back to Mike at the fist place. After handing the envelope to the postman he just weighed it in his hand and gave us a price. Also, the addresses are wonderfully simple here.
We left oh-so adorable Kinsale and headed to another favorite stop of the trip: The Rock of Cashell. After paying and having our picnic outside (no food allowed within the rock's walls), we adapted the self-guided tour in our book to accommodate for the masses of construction/restoration being done.
The day was again gorgeous, the views were again breathtaking, and the history lesson was again chilling. We don't have history like this at home, it's not old enough. It's humbling to be standing inside an old chapel and then learn that it was burned out while people seeking refuge hid inside, smoking them all to death. There was an ancient chalice found in the well outside, likely thrown in by monks fleeing, planning to extract it upon return. As it was never recovered, it's a safe assumption these holy men were murdered and never made it back.
There was some really cool stuff here; we even saw St. Patrick's Cross! Outside in the origional location is a reproduction, but in the museum inside is the real one, which was craved 650 years after St. Patrick baptized King Angus here somewhere around A.D. 450. Every part of The Rock is intricate and remarkabley detailed.
Thought went into EVERY litle thing. The chancel arch, which framed the alter in the chapel when it was still there, is off-center to represent Christ's head on the cross, drooping to one side. It's framed with fist-sized carved heads. The lower ones are hideous and deformed, the upper ones grow calmer and less grotesque, the closer they get to God. Someone recovered in the chancel area is a fresco, rare in this area-- they don't hold up well in damp climates. It was whitewashed over by Protestants, who consideredornamentation vain.
The Rock is somewhat ominous, all stone on a tall hill. Making it even cooler were all the dark birds nested in it, flying around the top of the tower like in a fairy tale.
There is way too much about this place to write here without simply copying our guide book and elaborating. If you ever visit Ireland, make sure to stop here!
NOTE: As we were viewing the original St. Patrick's Cross our camera batteries ran out. It was some time before we got anymore pictures.