The trek down from the Rock of Cashel to Hore Abbey involved some lane walking, fence jumping and cow plop hopping and more climbing. Coming out of the entrance to the Rock of Cashel, turn right and head down hill on the road. You can see Hore Abbey at the bottom across the field. Cross the road and look for a path over the stone wall. Watch for cow droppings and the possibility of a bull in the field. There is a dirt path directly across the road and over the wall while a stone path lies further down the road to the right.
We found Hore Abbey to be more interesting than the Rock of Cashel because it hasn't been cleaned up as much. No tours or visitor center, just a quiet ruin to wander through. Very cool ruins altogether. There are lots of photo opportunities amongst the broken walls and graves. It is amazing how much time the Irish devoted to religious stone piling. 'Hore' is thought to derive from 'iubhair' - yew tree. The former Benedictine abbey at Hore was given to the Cistercians by Archbishop David MacCearbhaill, who later entered the monastery. He removed the prior tenants after dreaming they intended to kill him. He endowed the Abbey generously with land, mills and other benefices previously belonging to the town.
Hore Abbey is unique among Irish Cistercian monasteries because the cloister lies to the north. The Rock of Cashel close by to the north may explain this departure from the usual alignment.
March 28, 2007
From journal Co. Tipperary