Bishops and rooks redux

En route from Kilkenny to Kenmare we stopped for a look at the Rock of Cashel, also known as the Scaffolding of Cashel.

The cathedral complex occupies a commanding position on top of a hill, the better to anticipate the next siege of tour buses.

The resident crows are just biding their time, waiting for an appropriate moment to begin the counterattack.

The big draw at Cashel is Cormac’s Chapel; it contains rare and indecipherable remnants of frescoes and some interesting carvings.

In some respects Hore Abbey down the hill makes a more harmonious impression.

This area seems to have had bad luck with bishops. Cashel was the base of the infamous turncoat Miler McGrath, and the Benedictine monks at Hore were evicted when a different bishop had a dream that they were trying to kill him. He replaced them with Cistercians, who were of course ultimately replaced by hooded crows, now the most common order throughout Ireland’s historic monasteries.

After Cashel we intended to spend some time at the donkey sanctuary in north Cork, but we encountered a highway detour in the shape of a Celtic knot and by the time we got to the sanctuary it was chilly and damp and the donkeys seemed about as disgruntled as us, if cuter.


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