King Cormac's Chapel, Cashel

"Connected with the cathedral, on the south side of the choir, is King Cormac's Chapel, by some supposed to be the first stone building in Ireland. Dr. Ledwich considers it one of the most curious fabrics in the kingdom, and its rude imitation of pillars and capitals makes it appear to have been copied after the Grecian architecture, and long to have preceded that which is usually called Gothic. This chapel is fifty feet by eighteen in the choir, and of a style totally different from the church. Both on the outside and inside are columns over columns, better proportioned than one could expect from the place or time. The ceiling is vaulted, and the outside of the roof is corbelled, so as to form a pediment pitch. It is very probable it was built by Cormac on the very foundation of the church originally erected here by St. Patrick.

Cormac's Chapel, Cashel

Cormac's Chapel, Cashel

"Hore Abbey, called also St. Mary's Abbey of the Rock of Cashel, was situated near the cathedral church, and originally founded for Benedictines; but the Archbishop David M'Carbhuil, of the family of the O'Carrols, dispossessed them of their houses and lands, and gave their possessions to a body of Cistercian monks, and at the same time took upon himself the habit of that order. The noble ruins of this edifice still remain. The steeple is large, and about twenty feet square on the inside; the east window is small and plain, and in the inside walls are some remains of stalls; the nave is sixty feet long and twenty-three broad, and on each side was an arcade of three Gothic arches, the north side whereof is levelled, with lateral aisles, which were about thirteen feet broad; on the south side of the steeple is a small door leading into an open part, about thirty feet long, and twenty-four broad; the side-walls are much broken, and in the gable-end is a long window: there is a small division on the north side of the steeple, with a low, arched apartment, which seems to have been a confessionary, as there are niches in the walls with apertures.

Interior of Cashel Abbey

Interior of Cashel Abbey

"A monastery, called Hacket's Abbey, was founded in Cashel in the reign of Henry III. for Conventual Franciscans, by W. Hacket. In the night of the 14th of February, 1757, the lofty and beautiful steeple of this friary fell to the ground. The edifice was situated at the rear of Friars' Street, but is now so much gone to ruin that it is difficult to trace its divisions.

"Amongst the ruins many ancient pieces of sculpture, containing interesting inscriptions, have recently been discovered."


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