Legend tells us that the Rock of Cashel was created when the devil was so mad he took a large bite out of the Ireland mountains and intended to drop it on St. Patrick, to keep him from encouraging Christianity in Ireland. He missed, and St. Patrick opportunistically used the massive landform as the location of the baptism of the King of Munster in approximately 450 AD.
In 1101, the current King donated his fortress on the hill to the church, and a dominating cathedral and monk’s quarters were added to the landscape.
It was a steep hike up to the buildings, but there were buskers playing Irish tunes on a violin and guitar that entertained us as we climbed the hill. There are four separate buildings to explore here, and we had a guide take us through each one to explain all we were seeing.
The monks’ quarters, the faded murals on the ceilings, the broken stone remnants of a life we can only imagine, it all fascinated me. Not that I want to be Catholic, mind you, but there’s an ancient history here that is lacking in the United States. We’re talking about things that took place a thousand years ago, while the US history only dates back a mere 240 years.
I taught some of this Irish history (or tried to) to 7th graders, who have, not surprisingly, no clue about the events that shaped their own lives. Those who say they are Irish are left without substantiation as to the contributions these people made to life in America, or t0 the efforts they went to to survive. I am awed.
The walk through the sloping graveyard about did my knees in, but going back down the hill was actually harder on them. However, my “Weather Witch” status still holds, and it was a crystal blue day, 70 degrees, and who could ask for more?