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Castles of Ireland
Rock of Cashel, Co. Tipperary

Rock of Cashel, Co. Tipperary You round a 20th century bend on the main Dublin-Cork road and you are transported back 1500 years. There, standing proud of the plains, is the great 4th century fortification of Cashel - the stone fort. This was the seat of kings and mediaeval bishops for 900 years and flourished until the early 17th century. Indeed, there was a settlement here from pre-christian times, traces of which have long since vanished. Interwoven into the turbulent history of the 'Rock' is an impressive ecclesiastical fabric which spans the Middle Ages. In the 5th century St. Patrick converted Aenghus, the King of that time, and made Cashel a bishopric. This great monument in stone has seen war and peace, scholarship and devotion over a millenium and a half. It is fitting, therefore, that once again, the great traditions of learning and art which kept the flame of scholarship alight in a Europe dimmed by the Dark Ages, should have an echo at Cashel today. BRU BORU - the palace of Boru ( Brian Boru was King of all Ireland ) - is a national heritage centre at the foot of the Rock of Cashel. This cultural village is designed around a village green and is home to the study and celebration of native Irish music, song, dance, storytelling, theatre, genealogy and Celtic studies. Cashel is a thriving townset against a backdrop of antiquity and located in the rich pasture lands of the Golden Vale. In addition to the Rock of Cashel, Hoar Abbey, Dominican Abbey, the City of Kings has many and varied attractions i.e. Folk Village, Bolton Library, Cashel Heritage Centre, potters, silversmiths, artists, historians..... the list is endless. Cashel is an oasis of history, Cashel also boasts some of the countrys best restaurants, two hotels and numerous high standard guesthouses. Cashel is a shopper's dream with many varied and well stocked shops.

Ross Castle, Co. Killarney

Ross Castle Ross Castle was built in the 15th century on the shore of Killarney's Lower lake by O'Donoghue M�r, who lost it after the Desmond rebellion at the end of the sixteenth century.

A family called Browne were rewarded for their support for Cromwell with vast tracts of the countryside around what was to be Killarney, including the castle. They eventually became the earls of Kenmare. Ross Castle was one of the last strongholds in the country to hold out against Cromwell.

Popular legend would have the defender, Lord Muskerry, bravely holding out against the English forces under Ludlow, firm in the belief that the castle would never be captured by land. Ludlow, however, had decided to attack from the water and had ships built in Kinsale and brought up to Killarney by land and river.

The defenders, seeing an attack being mounted from the Lake, immediately capitulated. The truth is that Muskerry had already decided to surrender, knowing that by 1652 there was no chance of defeating the Cromwellian forces, and the appearance of the boats provided as good an excuse as any. So in 1652 Ross fell to the English General General Ludlow.

The castle was used as a military barracks in the 18th and 19th centuries. For a long time it fell into disrepair but recently the building has been restored and now open to the public.