The town of Cashel, in the Golden Vale
of County Tipperary
is a centre of Irish
and European heritage
, which has been home to various warrior chiefs
, and saints
. Cashel is now also a Protestant
, and a Catholic archbishopric
The namesake of the town, the Rock of Cashel, once Sid-Druim (Faerie-Hill), is a lone chunk of stratified limestone, on top of which is a group of ruins, in the broad plain called the Golden Vein. The name may derive from "Cais-il" (tribute stone), in that the tribes of Munster paid tribute in the town, on the stone.
From the Gaelic Caiseal, a cashel refers to thick, stone wall, generally circular, surrounding a monastic community or other habitation site.
The town was founded by Corc Mac Lorsa, and when a fort was erected on the hill, the town of Cashel became the capital of Munster. King Aengus was the ruler at the time of the visit of St. Patrick, around the year 450. Until 897, King Aengus' heirs ruled Cashel. The various Kings of Munster would reside chiefly in Cashel, giving it the title of the "City of the Kings".
In 977, Brian Boru was crowned High King of Munster at Cashel, and in 990, he had Cashel fortified. In 1101, Murtagh O'Brien made a gift of Cashel to the bishop of Munster, and dedicated it to St. Patrick and to God. Cashel then became an archiepiscopal see, and was ruled by the church for the longest time. Forever almost. In 1647, in what is called the Massacre of Cashel, under the command of Oliver Cromwell, Lord Inchiquin burned Cashel to the ground, killing 3000 people.
Currently, there are a great many artifacts from the long and eventful history of Cashel the rock, the town, and the religious jurisdiction, many of them textual and architectural. As such, there has developed a very active scholarly community, as well as the standard touristic centre. Cashel's local newspaper is, perheps expectedly, "The Cashel News".
Also, there is an Irish brand of hard cider, marketed under the name Cashel's that, by certain accounts, isn't half-bad.