Rock of Cashel
Rock of Cashel Via N8 from Portlaoise to Cashel and then to Kilkenny via the R691 cross-country.
Abbeyleix Heritage town is a planed 19th century town, home of the de Vesci family for 100's of years. It is an architecturally fine town with features characteristic of an English village. Visit Heritage house, the Sensory Gardens and Sexton's house. There was a carpet factory in Abbeyleix where the carpet for the Titanic was made. There are a number of traditional villages on the way to Cashel. The Rock of Cashel, 200ft high limestone out crop was a fortress of the Munster kings since the 5 Century. It was also an ecclesiastical centre in the middle ages and is most famous for Cormac's Chapel, which has the finest example of Romanesque Architecture and stone carving in medieval Ireland. Interior architectural features have been found to be the work of Italian Artists. A guided tour of the Rock is a must, and the town is worth a walk about.
After visiting Cashel. head for Kilkenny via the R691 passing through Killenaule (home of Charles Kickham - author of "Knocknagow". Kilkenny still retains its medieval character. Visit it's fine stone castle. Roth House and St Canice's Cathedral (13th Century) and the Kilkenny Design Centre. On the way back visit Dunmore Cave. Return via Durrow and Abbevleix to Portlaoise
"It was what we do in Ireland, done as well as it can be done. It was inspiring, inspiringly delicious. What a treasure for the lone traveller! "
John McKenna, Bridgstone Guide, Ireland