Rock of Cashel, County Tipperary

This was our first sight of the Rock of Cashel. I was still regretting the wonderful square tower we'd passed as we got off the motorway, wishing I could hop off and spend some time taking pictures. Then we rounded a bend and saw this. I've seen photographs of the Rock of Cashel, even have it as a background photo on my laptop. But I'm sure my jaw still dropped when I saw it in person. (In spite of the scaffolding.)

There is great online information on this collection of buildings set on the hill above the town of Cashel, so I won't repeat it here. Except to say that the round tower and chapel (which is under the scaffolding) date to the 12th century, the ruined Gothic cathedral is 13th century, and the castle and beautifully restored Hall of the vicars Choral are 15th century.

We had time to walk through town and have lunch, before meeting our group near the entrance. I loved the stone walls, and the way the wildflowers found a way to grow in the crevices.

Finally we got to go inside the gate, and while we waited for our guide, I walked the grounds taking pictures. I knew once more people arrived, it would be impossible to get photographs without crowds of people in them. I really wanted the scenery pictures, because this is Tipperary county, where my great-great grandparents were born. We're just passing through this county, so I'm taking all the photographs I can, to share with my sisters. I want to be able to look back at these, and think about my ancestors growing up in these hills. Maybe they even visited this very place.

Standing on the same hill, I couldn't get everything into the frame. So I had to switch to my wide zoom.You'll have to ignore the tower that now seems to be leaning. It isn't.

The monument in the corner of the graveyard lost the upper part of its structure (don't remember now how that happened). Melinda and I found all the broken pieces lying behind it, next to the stone wall. The carvings are beautiful.

The last stop was a walk around the inside of the chapel that's under renovation. Our guide said the stone was so waterlogged, water was seeping out of the walls. So it's covered, and protected from the elements. Amazingly, there is still paint on some of the walls and ceilings, remains of old frescoes. It's a beautiful place.

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