Tipperary: Apparently it’s a long way?

Greetings once more from a slowly baking Ireland! The “hosepipe ban” that started in Dublin last week is extended to the entire country as of today; every cashier and waitstaff I speak to has something to say about the weather; Radio One played a montage of man-on-the-street reactions to the heatwave on the morning news this morning; and, perhaps most strikingly, even the students are starting to wish it would cool off and rain–though I suspect their motivations have more to do with being unable to wear some of the clothes that they brought. They are not wrong: I have two long-sleeved tops, two sweaters, and a trench coat languishing sadly in my dorm room closet as we speak. Meanwhile we are all applying Febreze to the one pair of shorts we each packed and buying extra €5 t-shirts at Penney’s as we go forth to see more of this beautiful countryside.

Yesterday’s visit was a trip to Tipperary–insert your own corny “it’s a long way” joke here or simply feel free to burst into song–that was pleasantly relaxed after our very long day in Wexford on Tuesday. We visited two of Ireland’s important medieval monuments: Cahir Castle and the Rock of Cashel, with a stop in between at the Bru Boru Centre to eat lunch and see some fantastic live traditional music and dancing. It was a perfect day to look at imposing stone edifices.

Cahir Castle was constructed on the site of an earlier stone fort; it belonged to the Butler dynasty from the 14th to the 17th centuries.

Cahir is also known for delicious local baked goods. I had a fruit scone!

The central town square in Cahir.

I could get used to seeing this view on the way to work every day.

Cahir Castle is situated alongside the River Suir. (Pronunciation note: Suir is “sure,”; Cahir is somewhere between “care” and “keer.”)

The river and a church opposite the castle.

Some extremely well-fed ducks.

From Cahir we headed over to Cashel and the Brú Ború Centre.  Brú Ború (hooray, I have just learned to put fadas on vowels) is a cultural center promoting traditional Irish music and dance; they have their own performing group that puts on summer shows but they also host sesiúns, offer classes, and present concerts by other groups. They welcomed us with a great lunch followed by a “mini” version of their summer show:

This is the second year I’ve gotten to see this group perform and they continue to be excellent. I am no expert in Irish music nor, despite being a dancer, in Irish dance, but I can say that they put on an energetic and entertaining show that we all enjoyed.

After the show we had time to visit the Rock of Cashel, a limestone outcrop that supposedly landed in Cashel when the Devil took a bite out of a mountain in Tipperary (called the Devil’s Bit) and spat it out. Today it is crowned with a round tower and a chapel from the 12th century, and a cathedral from the 13th century. In 1749 the then-archbishop of Cashel wanted to move the cathedral to a more accessible location and started the process by removing the roof. I haven’t been able to figure out what his plan was from that point, but today the cathedral is a picturesque ruin and a lot of people are mad at that archbishop.

Looking up at the Rock from below.

Overlooking the valley below the Rock.

Hore Abbey–a Cistercian abbey founded in 1266.

The cathedral on the Rock.

Students taking pictures.

Inside the cathedral. I would love to know what it looked like when it was intact.

Artsy camera settings ahoy!

Coat of arms on a cathedral wall–maybe marking a family vault?

The round tower–same design and age as the one at St. Canice’s but you can’t go up in this one.

The graveyard by the cathedral.

I probably said this about Tuesday’s visit to Wexford but I think this may be my favorite field trip of the entire program. You just can’t get better than incredible architecture and history surrounded by gorgeous natural settings.

By the time we all walked around, took pictures, bought ice cream, and rode the bus back to Waterford it was dinner time. I headed downtown with two colleagues and had a great dinner at Peppers on the quay front. I think I ate at Peppers on my very first night in Waterford in 2016. Glad to see it is still going strong and building a good reputation.

Now it’s free-weekend time and the end of a quiet day on campus. I am on duty this weekend so I will be sticking close to home. As they say: further updates as events warrant!

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