The Rock of Cashel is also known as Cashel of the Kings.
The buildings which crown the Rock of Cashel present a mass and outline of great interest and beauty hardly equalled in western Europe. The complex has a character of its own, unique and native, and is one of the most remarkable in Europe.
The earliest and most lofty of the Cashel edifices is the Round tower, a very perfectly preserved 28m high example, which dates from c.1100.
The Chapel of King Cormac, Cormac's Chapel, consecrated in 1134, is the most important building from the point of view of the modern visitor. Begun in 1127, it is a very sophisticated structure, unlike most Irish Romanesque churches which are simple in plan with isolated decorated features. The Abbot of Regensburg sent two of his carpenters to help in the work and the twin towers on either side of the junction of the nave and chancel are strongly suggestive of their Germanic influence, as this feature is otherwise unknown in Ireland. Other notable features of the building incude, interior and exterior arcading, a barrel-vaulted roof, a carved tympanum over both doorways, the magnificent North Doorway and Chancel Arch.
The Cathedral, built between 1235 and 1270, is an aisleless building of cruciform plan, having a central tower and terminating westwards in a massive residential castle.
The Hall of the Vicars Choral was built in the fifteenth century. The vicars choral were laymen (sometimes minor canons) appointed to assist in chanting the cathedral services. At Cashel there were originally eight vicars choral with their own seal. This was later reduced to five honorary vicars choral who appointed singing-men as their deputies, a practice which continued until 1836. The restoration of the Hall was undertaken by the Office of Public Works OPW as a project in connection with the European Architectural Heritage Year, 1975. It is now the building through which visitors enter the site.
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