Trim Castle, Co. Meath, in Ireland’s Ancient East, is an imposing symbol of Norman strength even today. It was built within an area of 30,000 m², surrounded by a moat on three sides and the River Boyne on the forth. It is strategically placed on raised ground and the fording point of the river. Trim Castle is situated at the northern edge of the Pale offering protection from the hostile world of the Gaelic Irish. It is the first stone castle and largest Anglo-Norman castle in Ireland. Trim Castle took over thirty-years to construct by Hugh de Lacy & his son, who took possession of it in 1172. The area was an important early medieval, ecclesiastical and royal site accessed in medieval times by the River Boyne, 40 Km from Drogheda port.
During one of Hugh De Lacy’s absences from the castle, when he left Hugh Tyrrell, one of his chief lieutenants in charge, the then ringwork was attacked and burnt by the Gaelic High King of Ireland Ruaidrí Ua Conchobair (Rory O’Connor). Tyrrell was forced to flee. Ua Conchobair later withdrew and De Lacy repaired and rebuilt the structure in 1173. The castle was not completed until 1224, by Hugh’s son Walter De Lacy.
There is much history associated with this important stronghold of the British and many battles fought for possession of it. In the 15th century the Irish Parliament, under British rule, met in Trim Castle and there was a mint operated in the castle. It was at that time the centre of administration for Meath and marked the outer northern boundary of The Pale.
Trim castle fell in and out of decline over the centuries and parts were added and others left to ruin. Around the late 1600’s it was sold to the Dunsany Plunketts family and finally Lord Dunsany sold the castle (now in ruins) and surrounds to the Irish State. It is now looked after and preserved by the Irish Office of Public Works and open to the public.
There is a small entry fee and it is open all year and weekends. There is a huge body of history associated with Trim Castle and the tour guides give every interesting talks, each taking different areas of interest, so you can visit many times and never be bored. Of course this site was also used for the filming of Braveheart back in 1984 and the local tourist café has some great photos and set props for those interested. There are also some lovely walks along the river Boyne, accessed by a wooden foot bridge close to the Castle.
Given its fascinating history, Trim Castle should be included in anyone’s tours of Ireland’s Ancient East.
If you are considering a tour of Trim Castle, in Ireland’s Ancient East, talk to us today!