Trim Castle, built on the site of a former wooden fortress, is the largest Norman castle in all of Ireland. A construction project that lasted decades, this 12th century castle was built on raised ground overlooking a fording point on the River Boyne, a magnificent vantage point during this time period. This massive ruin is said to be the highlight of any trip to Ireland with its fairy-tale atmosphere, rich history, and pop culture connections. The name comes from the Irish áth Truim meaning “The Ford of the Elder Trees” and refers to its location on the river.
Located in County Meath, Trim Castle was constructed over a 30-year period by Hugh de Lacy and his son Walter and was once the centre of administration for the Lordship of Meath. De Lacy and his son were responsible for the building of the castle’s defences and devised a most solid design. On this site was constructed, most notably, a three story, 20-sided keep protected by a curtain wall and moat.
When ownership of the castle was transferred to Geoffrey de Geneville in the late 13th century, it was he who was responsible for the construction of two more towers, the Great Hall, and the drawbridge.
The castle was passed along through families over the years until the 17th century when it was finally abandoned and left for deterioration. In the years following, the castle saw various uses including one as a municipal dump of the Town Council. Eventually, through the Office of Public Works, it was given new life through restoration and conservation efforts and opened to the public in 2000.
A Day at Trim Castle
Trim Castle’s imposing exterior is quite the opposite of its welcoming and impressive tour. A team of knowledgeable and enthusiastic tour guides leads you through some of the most well preserved ruins in the country. Perhaps start with a walk around the beautiful green grounds and let yourself be intimidated by the castle’s overwhelming size and obvious strength. A tour through the castle’s keep will be not only informative, but also unforgettable. Climb the spiralling stone staircases for phenomenal views from the tower of the river and of a landscape that hasn’t much changed in centuries.
The detailed tour of Trim Castle includes live weapons demonstrations and information on the castle’s use in a Hollywood blockbuster. Scenes from the Oscar award winning film Braveheart, featuring Mel Gibson as both the movie’s star actor and director, were shot at Trim Castle in the early 1990s.
It is no secret that Ireland is overflowing with castles and fairy-tale charm. For that reason, no tour of the Emerald Isle is complete without a day spent exploring the many medieval ruins, least of all Trim Castle. The sheer size and imposing strength of Trim will astound even the most cynical traveller. With its rare cruciform-shaped keep and larger-than-life stone towers, this castle has remained virtually unchanged since it was first constructed so many centuries ago. The informative, light-hearted, and often hilarious guided tour caps off the perfect experience of a day in Ireland.
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