A Fortress on a Hill | Ireland

03 June 2016

As we made our way across the rolling hills of County Tipperary, the menacing fortress appeared out of nowhere. On top of one of the tallest rocks in sight sat the ruins of a mighty fortress. My mouth literally dropped. Cashel Fortress wasn't on our original itinerary but was immediately one of my favorite spots in all of Ireland.

The morning of my twenty-fifth birthday was a bit rough. I was exhausted from the full day of traveling the day before and jet lag was slowly creeping up on me. Nevertheless we trudged on, making our way to the Paddywagon offices for our day tour. I had taken a Paddywagon Tour before to the Cliffs of Moher and was pleasantly surprised. When I booked my trip to Ireland we had settled on a tour of County Cork and Blarney Castle. Little did we know a surprise stop at Cashel Fortress was in store for us as well.

As our bus pulled up to the bottom of St. Patrick's Rock, it was difficult to not be completely memorized by the size of it all. If the fortress is still captivating people's curiosity today I can only imagine how it must have made people feel in the 12th and 13th centuries! Construction of the tower began in 1100, and the rest of the fortress followed within the next couple hundred years. 

Legend says that the rock is the sight where St. Patrick converted the King of Munster. Centuries later the sight was donated to the church where the remains of the main cathedral can still be seen today. 

As with any structure of this age, constant upkeep is required. On the day we visited there were a few workers around, and the chapel was sealed off for protection from the elements. However, everything was still open to the public and there were plenty of people here on this early Friday morning. 

Unless you are part of a tour or have rented a car, visiting Cashel Fortress is virtually impossible. However, if you can swing a visit I promise you will not be disappointed.

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