St Dominic's Priory

The Rock of Cashel is such an imposing site, perched high on a rocky outcrop, it totally dominates the landscape around Cashel. Visitors are naturally drawn to the rock, but a short walk around the town can reveal a number of wonderful hidden gems. The Town Walls, with the Hackett effigies, Kearney's Castle and St Dominic's Priory are a few of the sites hidden in the shadow of the rock. The Dominican Priory was founded in 1243 by the Archbishop of Cashel David O'Kelly (d.1253), former Bishop of Cloyne.

Following an accidental fire in c.1480 the Priory was mostly rebuilt, at his own expense, by Archbishop John Cantwell II, for which he was recognised as a patron and co-founder. The crossing tower and the beautiful traceried windows, pictured below, were probably added during the rebuild. In 1540 during the dissolution of the monasteries, ordered by Henry VIII, the Priory was surrendered to the crown by the then Prior, Edward Brown.

At the time of the dissolution the priory was comprised of the church, a cloister, a dormitory, cellars, three gardens and an orchard. Today only the church remains. It is a nave and chancel church with a crossing tower and a south transept. The examples of the window tracery pictured above above are, from left to right, east gable, south transept and west gable. Inside the church are a number of medieval graveslabs, a 13th/14th century sarcophagus, an altar tomb and a couple of figure carvings. I was unable to gain access to the priory on this visit, but I will definitely call back. A key to the priory can be obtained from 19 Dominic Street, the first house to the right of the entrance.

A view of the transept, crossing tower and chancel, from the south.

Situated: The Priory is situated on Dominic Street, in the centre of the town. The street is behind the tourist office on the Main Street.

Discovery Map 66: S 0762 4073. Last visit Aug 2019.

Longitude: 7° 53' 16"

Latitude: 52° 31' 5" N

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Photos: Jim Dempsey.