Tuesday 26th April 9.00am
Holy Cross Abbey, Holycross, Co Tipperary, 13th Century
Set in a small village in the beautiful South Tipperary’s Golden Vale, The Holy Cross Abbey is a restored Cistercian monastery near Thurles, situated on the River Suir. It takes its name from a relic of the True Cross or Holy rood. The fragment of that Holy rood was brought to Ireland by the Plantagenet Queen, Isabella of Angoulême around 1233. She was the widow of King John and bestowed the relic on the original Cistercian Monastery in Thurles, which she then rebuilt, and which was thenceforth named Holy Cross Abbey. Today, Holy Cross Abbey is an active parish church.
Tuesday 26th April 10.30am
Rock of Cashel, Cashel, Co Tipperary, 6th Century
The Rock of Cashel is one of the most striking monuments in Ireland and has some of the finest collections of Celtic art and medieval architecture in Europe. The site includes St Cormac’s beautiful Romanesque chapel. Located on a rock outcrop, the site has commanding views out over the golden vale in South Tipperary and played a pivotal role throughout the ages.
According to local mythology, the Rock of Cashel originated in the Devil’s Bit, a mountain 20 miles (30 km) north of Cashel when St. Patrick banished Satan from a cave, resulting in the Rock’s landing in Cashel. Cashel is reputed to be the site of the conversion of the King of Munster by St. Patrick in the 5th century.
The large complex contains several building types of varying origins. The oldest and tallest of the buildings is the well preserved round tower (28 metres, or 90 feet), dating from c.1100. Cormac’s Chapel, the chapel of King Cormac Mac Carthaigh, was begun in 1127 and consecrated in 1134. The monument contains the Cathedral, built between 1235 and 1270, and the Hall of the Vicars Choral which was built in the 15th century. The restoration of the Hall was undertaken by the Office of Public Works as a project in connection with the European Architectural Heritage Year, 1975.
In 1647, during the Irish Confederate Wars, Cashel was sacked by English Parliamentarian troops under Murrough O’Brien, 1st Earl of Inchiquin. In 1749 the main cathedral roof was removed by Arthur Price, the Anglican Archbishop of Cashel.