Treasures of Ireland | ©thepalladiantraveler.comAccording to Big Mike, our solid-as-a-rock tour director, “When traveling down to the southern counties of Ireland, a man’s wardrobe should include plenty of tweed.”

Looking sharp in a matching hand-loomed, hurley tweed waistcoat (vest) and jacket, our self-proclaimed Liam Neeson-lookalike leads the intrepid “band of merry media” — 18 travel writers and photographers invited by Insight Vacations (Insight) to sample a portion of its Treasures of Ireland journey — up the steep path to one the Emerald Isle’s most frequented heritage sites: The Rock of Cashel.

Treasures of Ireland | ©thepalladiantraveler.com

In fine Irish fashion, David, one of the curators at the small museum, greets us with another 100-thousand welcomes — céad mile fáilte — then quickly takes us back to the fifth century, the starting point of his primer about the site.

Treasures of Ireland | ©thepalladiantraveler.com“It was here on this spot,” David states while fronting a stone replica of the Cross of St. Patrick, “that Ireland’s patron saint converted the pagan King of Munster to Christianity back in 450 AD.” He adds, “For this reason, the Rock of Cashel, meaning castle, is also referred to as the Rock of Kings and St. Patrick’s Rock.”

Sitting atop an outcrop of limestone, the Rock of Cashel is an impressive collection of medieval buildings that overlooks part of the Golden Vale, Ireland’s prized dairy farming area that stretches across three counties: Cork, Limerick and, from our vantage point, the undulating pastures of Tipperary.

Treasures of Ireland | ©thepalladiantraveler.com

Treasures of Ireland | ©thepalladiantraveler.comAs David points out, these ruins include a 12th-century round tower, a high cross, a Romanesque chapel, a 15th century castle, the Hall of Vicars — where laymen and sometimes minor canons, appointed to assist in chanting the various religious services, were housed — and a 13th-century Gothic cathedral named in honor of St. Patrick.

Before letting us meander about on our own, David provides us with one grim footnote about this historic site.

“Over the centuries, the cathedral and castle survived quite a few attacks,” he begins, “but, in 1647, during the Irish Confederate Wars, Oliver Cromwell’s English Parliamentary forces attacked the Rock of Cashel and much of the complex was destroyed.” David concludes his open-air lecture by adding, “Nearly 1,000 Irish men, women and children were massacred inside St. Patrick’s Cathedral and the majority of the priceless religious artifacts were stolen.’

With a bit more daylight to burn before we depart this solemn place, I remove the lens cap and frame away.

Treasures of Ireland | ©thepalladiantraveler.comJoining Big Mike for the walk back down the lane — part of the Tipperary Heritage Way — towards the parking lot and the awaiting Insight motor coach, I admire his traditional Irish threads up close and ask, “Do you think I could score some tweed in a 36-short?”

Looking down at me sympathetically from his lofty 6’2″ frame, Big Mike smiles and replies, “Ah Tom, to be sure. To be sure.”

For complete information on Insight’s 100+ premium and luxury-escorted journeys around Europe, including the Treasures of Ireland itinerary, just click HERE, or call toll free 1-888-680-1241, or contact your travel agent.

©The Palladian Traveler

Borsalino w/ props SMALL | ©Tom Palladio Images

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Written by The Palladian Traveler

Tom traded his hometown St. Louis Cardinals' baseball cap in the United States for a Borsalino and he now hangs his "capello" in the Puglia region of southeastern Italy. A veteran print and broadcast journalist, with well-worn passports that have got him into and out of 50 countries and counting, Tom fell in love with the "Bel Paese" years ago. As he notes, "I'm inspired by the beauty I find in all things that are very, very old, and reliving history, or at least meandering along cobblestone streets that were laid down over a thousand years ago and just looking up and marveling at what occupies the space still today, really gets my 'Vespa' running." Tom has a good eye behind the lens and is a graphic storyteller, but he'll let you decide as he keeps his camera batteries fully charged and the posts flowing from his creative hideaway in the hills overlooking Ostuni. You can also follow his dispatches along the cobblestone via TravelingBoy.com.

6 comments

  1. Looking forward to seeing your new tweed suit!! It may be a Long Way to Tipperary, but this dispatch from that green county of Ireland was well worth the journey. Lovely. Orna

    Like

  2. Wishing I had a tweed suit from Ireland to wear to a local pub. Enjoying the views and photos of Ireland, photos always good framing and always in-focus

    Like

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