“The Largest Norman Castle in Ireland” – Trim Castle

…Simularily like what happened to ‘Bunratty castle’, the attack took place once the Lord departed the castle and was no longer in sight.

Hugh De Lacey who left Ireland, put his trust into one of his chief lieutenants ‘Hugh Tyrrel’ who made a complete disappearance, after the ringwork castle burned down to ashes after coming under attack of the forces of the Gaelic High King of Ireland, ‘Ruaidrí Ua Conchobair’.

..the castle was known as the centre of administartion for Meath in the 15th century, where the Irish Parliament met on several occations, it also marked the northern boundry of the Pale.On the turn of 16th century, the castle fell into decline…

and so did it’s high stone walls… . .

TodaysWanderluster present’s you, with this week’s article on Trim Castle, ‘The Largest Norman Castle in Ireland’.

… love reading about castles? Perhaps the one’s from Ireland ? Make sure to check out our recent blog article on Bunratty castle “Most Authentic Castle in Ireland” for more… .

>To Bunratty Castle

Hey guys,

Welcome back to TodaysWanderluster !! It is Friday 17th of July, the day where we will hit the road once again, in search of yet another green crystal which finds itself burried in the vast lands of beauty of the country we know as Ireland.

This week, we will be continuing our small series on the ‘Castle’s of Ireland’ by travelling to the very east of the country, to Meath county.

Our this week’s location, Trim Town.


The TodaysWanderluster would like to encourage you to subscribe to us, so that you don’t miss out on any adventures with us. You can subscribe here or by locating the subscribe panel at the bottom of this article. Let’s roll !!

>Contact us if located any mistakes in this article here

>TodaysWanderluster Team suggests using Google Maps with this article.


Caisleán Bhaile Átha Troim‘ in Irish or Trim castle, is a norman castle situated on the south bank of the river Boyne in Trim town, Meath county in the Republic of Ireland. Built in the 12th century, the castle is known to be the largest norman castle that stands in the eastern part of country aswell the largest in Ireland, with a recorded area of 30,000 m².

Trim Castle, which possess a long and fascinating history (to which we will dive in…. in just as blink of an eye), was a castle that was built over a period of 30 years by our guy, Hugh de Lacy and his son, Walter.

Having that out of the way, shall we immerse ourselves deeper, by together discovering the history that is hidden behind the walls of this centuries old castle, putting on our shoes, grabbing our cameras as we are about to go, yet again, on another adventure together.

Stay tuned to find out what the Trim castle is known for and in which movies, did it make an appearance… . .

Discovering the History of Trim Castle

The History of this castle goes as far back as the 12th century (1101 -1200 AD) and tells us why the castle was built where it stands today and by who, aswell as by who was the castle and it’s surrounding lands later inherited, what was the castle regarded as back then.

Let’s begin with Hugh de Lacy who built the ringwork castle or (aka. Motte and Bailey) sometime after he took possession of the chosen lands that are now part of the present day Meath county, in 1172. Lacey’s initiative was to build a strong castle fortification,

so..

he chose to build a ringwork castle which was further defended by a strout double palisade aswell as an external ditch located on top of the hill, with further defences around the castle as believed, one around the cliffs fringing the high ground.

The site that the castle stands upon today was seen as a perfect spot that would only further strengthen the defence of this castle, as they were talking about an area of raised ground overlooking a fording point of the nearby flowing river known as the ‘River Boyne’.

However the site was chosen not only for the defences it could provide the castle when built, it was also regarded as a very important early medieval and ecclesiastical royal site which was actually navigable by boat up the Boyne river in the medieval times and could have been used to transport goods or people via the river towards or from the Irish Sea (approx. 40km away).

At the time, Trim castle was regarded as the centre of norman administration for the Lordship of Meath and was once referred to in norman poem titled ‘The Song of Dermot and the Earl’.

However just like our previous castle we spoke about aswell as….. well, any other castle that was ever built in the past, was attacked also….

and not so late after it was built either.

Simularily like what happened to ‘Bunratty castle’, the attack took place once the Lord departed the castle and was no longer in sight. Hugh De Lacey who left Ireland, put his trust into one of his chief lieutenants ‘Hugh Tyrrel’ (also the baron of Castleknock) who made a complete disappearance, after the ringwork castle burned down to ashes after coming under attack of the forces of the Gaelic High King of Ireland, ‘Ruaidrí Ua Conchobair’. The castle was later rebuilt around 1173, but still however, remained an “in-completed castle” atleast until the year 1224, far after Hugh De Lacey’s death in 1186 and Walter who took up the position of the new ‘Lord of Meath’.

Fast forwarding now towards the 13th and 14th centuries, the castle saw many developments like the construction of a new great Hall featuring an undercoft and a solar, a new forebuilding aswell as the few stables which were added to the castle keep.

It was also a time period where the castle landed into the hands of several different owners, like it was the bean bag in our game ‘hot potato’.

Let’s start with ‘Mathilda’ who inherited the castle after her grandfather, Walter de Lacy’s death in 1241, she married to Geoffrey de Geneville (brother of a crusade historian ‘Jean de Joinville’ also Lord of Vaucouleurs in Champagne, France) and together had a daughter ‘Joan’ who then married ‘Roger Mortimer’ and both took over the castle after the death of Mathilda in 1304, with Joan inheriting the title Baroness Geneville after Geoffrey’s death ten years later (1314).

(oouf .. If that sounds like a lot to take in then we’ll have to surprise you, as our story is only after stretching it’s legs and more is to uncover.)

The castle was ruled by the Mortimer Family until 1425, Edmund Mortimer as the last to inherit the castle and it’s lands. The castle was then passed down by the estate to ‘Richard of York’ (… the son of Edmund Mortimer’s sister), who died in 1460 at the ‘Battle of Wakefield’ with ‘King Edward IV’ (his son) being the next in line to inherit the castle.

Skimming over now.. to the 15th and 16 centuries. The castle was known as the centre of administartion for Meath in the 15th century, where the Irish Parliament met on several occations, it also marked the northern boundry of the Pale. On the turn of 16th century, the castle fell into decline

….and so did it’s high stone walls,

….

(we’re just joking, the castle was allowed to deteriorate however it wasn’t knocked down), as later near the year 1640, the same time when the Confederate Wars in Ireland broke out, the castle was once again refortified and hence symbolised great importance for the Irish who faught in these Wars. The castle was unfortunetly taken over by Oliver Cromwell’s army nine years later (1649) after the ‘sacking of Drogheda’.

Post wars of the 1680s, the castle and it’s lands were granted to the Wellesley family who later sold it to the ‘Leslies’, the castle was then moved into the hands of the ‘Dunsany family’ who held up until….

1993,

before the next owner became the Irish State, after the Castle and it’s lands were sold by Lord Dunsany after years of discussion as it seems.

(During our research on Trim castle, our team had to re-read that fragment more than twice for greater reassurance and we think this might be just one of the most interesting things we have ever came across in our research)

Before the break of another century (which would bring us to 2020, when Trim was opened to the public) a programme launched by ‘The Office of Public Works’ aided the restoration of the Trim Castle, specifically the moat and the installation of a protective roof to it’s keep.

Nowadays, Trim castle is one of the most known and visited castle’s in the Republic of Ireland hence a very popular tourist attraction. We already mentioned that Trim castle is Ireland’s largest norman castle however, we also made a promise with ye guys to share some of the movies that Trim has made an appearance in.

The Big Red One

A 1980s movie starring Lee Markin and Mark Hamill among others, partially shot a number of scenes at Trim specifically within the four walls of the castle.

Braveheart

A 1995 American epic historical fiction war film, directed aswell as co-produced by Mel Gibson portraying Willaim Wallace. The movie ‘Braveheart’ aswell as it’s filming on the grounds of the Trim castle hugely adds to what the castle is known for today.

Exploring The Trim Castle

Ireland’s Largest Norman Castle

Guess, that this far into the article you would like to hear more about what to see or check out in, around or what lies around the area, of Trim Castle. Having our research on the castle’s history done and dusted, let the adventure begin !!

Trim castle, the largest cambro-norman castle in the Republic of Ireland would be regarded as the ideal postcard from Meath, with the castle practically dominating the town panorama. The castle features a unqiue cruciform shape design of the three storey castle keep (not so typical when talking about a typical norman keep) with this central keep featuring around 20 corners. This stone built tall structure is a landmark to Trim, featuring a number of narrow almost dark in appearance windows, that each look out into the castle surroundings.

The castle features a 14th century three-towered fore work which served the purpose of defending the keep entrance and was only accessed by a stone causeway, crossing over the raised ditch of the earlier ringwork, from the castle interior a much older 13th century three aisled great hall, located at the northern angle of the castle a strout defensive tower which was then transformed into a solar. Sometime between the 14th and 15th century, at the eastern end of the castle, a smaller aiseld hall was added along with another building to the end of the latter hall which is believed to be the ‘mint’.

We may also find buildings dating back to the 15th-16th centuries inside the town gatehouse and 17th century buildings near the end of the hall range aswell to the north side of the castle keep. It is believed that one of the oldest features that one may come across at Trim castle are the ‘lime kilns’ (12th century).

Onto the Curtain Walls!!

The Trim castle curtain walls that remain well and alive to do this day, are known to be the north, south and west walls, as that’s where they stand. The sides north and west of the castle keep were defended with the aid of the rectangular towers along with the two main gates, the ‘Trim Gate’ built around the year 1170 and the Dublin Gate (1190).

The southern gate with the inclusion of it’s round towers date back to early 13th century (1201-1300). Another feature of the Trim castle is the external barbican tower located at the south wall near the Dublin Gate (the single round towered gate).

Finally, let’s take a walk around the castle courtyard and explore together what’s there that the eye can spot. Walking in through the north-western gate house we already have a glance of the mity Trim castle and the pure feeling of intimidation (as for a second we imagine ourselves in the shoes of those bfeore us, who approached the castle with the intention of sieging it and the feeling that was born within them at that moment, of being on this side of the walls).

We notice that the keep is placed in the direct centre of this huge castle courtyard, covered with a green vibrant grassy carpet, decorated with the gravel streets that bring tourists around the castle grounds. If not completely dazzled by the castle walls and the stone structure of Trim, you might be lucky not to fall into the large ditch situated all around the castle which is known as the ‘earlier ringwork’, may perhaps be one of the most iconic features of this couryard. To the north-west of the castle we can come across the great hall and a small passage to the underground right to it’s right hand side.

To the east of the castle we begin to notice that there are no more walls that hide us from the world outside of the castle, but rather, give us a wide view onto the Boyne river.

What’s nearby ?…

It may not be difficult to look for some more places to explore whilst in Trim, perhaps after already having Trim castle crossed out from your buckelist of all the places in Ireland you’d love to visit, as there is a nice handfull out there waiting for you in Trim town however it might be diffcult to state, which one belongs as the second place run up to Trim castle.

Let’s start at what lies east of the castle, the well-known river Boyne.

>TodaysWanderluster Team suggests using Google Maps for this section of the article.

Here we can find the ‘Trim Castle River Walk’ which begins just to the very north of the castle at a small wooden bridge that brings you along the river Boyne from which you can enjoy all the lovely views of the castle compounds, listen to the sound of the fast moving water from the left and for a second allow yourself to be totally immersed in the nature around you, with this trail ending at the south-eastern fortification, bring you to castle street.

A simular experience of such sort can be found to the south past the meeting point of the castle street and Ring road at the round-about, the ‘Norman Pratt Park‘.

For the animal lovers out there, the ‘Trim Donkey Family’ will be just the spot to visit if you are heading down towards the Norman Partt Park or the other way around.

When exploring the Trim castle compound and wondering around it’s courtyard or even better, climbing to the castle top to view the entire town and all the fields that spread to the distance seen to be clear, one may have been caught.. not only in your lens but caught your eye and interest, more than once! That is the St.Patricks Church located south-west of the Trim castle compound.

Though, we are not going to cover the history of some of these places in this article or submerge in a ‘sub-adventure’, along with the St.Patricks Catholic Church, we will mention some if not all of the different landmarks you can find in Trim, like for example the ‘Wellington Monument‘ that stands at the Newhaggard, Emmet’s and Patrick’s street junction (west of St.Patrick Church).

From St.Patrick’s Church in the southern part of town, let’s image ourselves wearing one of those spring shoes found in cartoons that allow us to jump high into the air, so let’s take one of those massive jumps, over the southern river bank hence the Boyne and over onto the northern bank where we can find the Trim Cathedral (once again prooving that one of the functions Trim had as a settlement was ecclesiastical), however coming back down towards the river, we may have passed what may be the ‘Oldest Bridge in Ireland‘. .

(btw we are not making this up, that is the bridge’s name)

This bridge is one of the six in Trim, located just to the east of Emmet Street bridge, speaking of what’s located ‘east’ let’s hop over to the eastern side of the river and take a look at what’s there !!

The closest landmarks that are visible by eye from the Trim Castle compound are by the far the ruins of what apear to be the St.Mary’s Abbey Trim, this landmark can be found just after crossing the small wooden bridge where the Trim Castle Riverwalk begins.

South of the St.Mary’s Abbey we can find the ‘Sheep’s Gate‘ which is known as the last surviving gate of five that provided access to the Trim.

Moving even further east of Trim town, by the river banks of the Boyne we can find the Cathedral of St.Peter and Paul and standing near it, the Newtown Clonbun Parish Church. However, that isn’t everything…

Past the Marcie Regan’s Pub, crossing over the last bridge of Trim that connects it’s river banks together, we will bump into the medieval priory, ‘Priory of St.John the Baptist’ .

Walking along, back towards the town, our last landmark here are the ruins of the ‘Echo Gate‘, a curious stop to take a photo!!

Thank you for joining us on this adventure of the Trim castle and Trim. We hope you enjoyed reading this blog post and found it informative.

Next Week, we will be sharing with you, our ‘Top 10 Best Viewing Points’ on the Trim castle in our article ‘Trim for the Photographers’ in our ‘For the Photographers’ series.

Our previous article on the ‘Bunratty castle’ you may find here or in the below panel if featured.

Share with us your feedback in the comment section below, tell us what you thought of our article today and perhaps what would you like to see us write about in the future. Reach us out on our social media platforms below.

Thank you for your support, slán go fóill !!

Published by Dawid Kucharski

Would you like to know more about me? Hey!! My name is Dawid Kucharski, I'm the administrator of TodaysWanderluster and head of our team. I help with the publishing of our weekly articles and I'm also the team's Photographer. I have been building my online presence since joining on Instagram in 2015, where I picked up an interest in photography. Recently I took part in the LensCulture Street Photography competition 2020 and currently I'm working hard on improving my photography skills. Earlier in April, together with my team, I helped with launching our project 'TodaysWanderluster' and we are constantly working hard to produce amazing weekly content for you. Thank you for visiting. Check out the 'About us' page for more information.

4 thoughts on ““The Largest Norman Castle in Ireland” – Trim Castle

    1. That’s usually what I tell myself when hitting the road with my family when going on another trip. I always feel like I haven’t seen enough castles in my life especially the Irish one’s 😂. I recommend Trim strongly as Bunratty. Which castle’s have you been to and what is your all time favourite ?

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Create your website with WordPress.com
Get started
%d bloggers like this: