You can't miss the castle in Trim. It is huge and stands above the entire town. It's right on the river so a lovely setting. You are required to take a tour and it's probably a good idea because there is ongoing restoration, hidden staircases and lots of ways to get lost. Here's my Journal entry for our first visit in gale-force winds and rain.
We walked the curtain wall while we waited and discovered the River Boyne below the castle. Back to the castle keep for our tour and glad to get inside out of the wind. We clambered to the top, stopping at various levels while our pleasant young guide gave us more facts than we could remember. He was polite, cheery and excellent. You can see forever from the top of the keep and fortunately, the rain stopped when we got there. The climb down was dizzying and somehow our guide beat us down. He must have used another stairway. ;^)
Official Heritage Ireland for Trim Castle
We did get to visit again on a much nicer day at the end of our trip. Again, we were going to Dublin but this time we stayed overnight in Trim and had a more relaxed visit.
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This castle has only been open to the public for a couple of years and is a great example of a Norman castle. The tour was excellent. Our son and I looked for toilets (there were supposed to be 14, but we only found a couple). We could see them from the outside (slanted holes near the corners of the castle) but had trouble finding them from the inside.
The biggest Anglo-Norman castle in Ireland, Trim was first built as a simple motte and bailey fortification in the 12th C. before quickly being destroyed by an Irish king. A new, sturdier castle was begun a few years later which grew into this impressive fortress. Built on the river banks and with huge walls on the all the other sides this must have been an intimidating display of military power. Although it fell into severe disrepair after it fell out of use it has been very well restored. Visitors are free to stroll around the grounds and it's good fun to imagine what it must have been like it's former glory. The walls of the enormous keep are practically intact. Guided tours are available of the interior with some interesting features, and walkways across what were the upper floors.
Built in 1817, the Duke of Wellington Monument was a tribute to Arthur Wellesley, the 1st Duke of Wellington. Wellesley was born in Trim and is one of its most revered and famous residents. He was a noted Irish soldier and politician who later became the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom in the 1700's. Wellington, the capital city of New Zealand, is named in his honor.
A 19th Century Catholic church with an extremely tall steeple-possibly the tallest structure in the area (either that or it just seems that way as it sits atop a hill. It is a great place to see a proper Irish Catholic mass and the interior is impressive.
A short walk down across the river and down a footpath takes you to a more modest yet very historical structure called the Sheep Gate. It is thought that the name of this gate was nothing more than an acquired knickname. In actuality, it is the last remaining gate of the city wall that existed in medieval times.
The Yellow Steeple is the most prominent of the many ruins in Trim. It overlooks the town from a ridge directly opposite Trim Castle across the River Boyne. It was originally part of the 13th century St. Mary's Augustinian Abbey. The steeple itself dates from 1368.
The Yellow Steeple stands over 40 meters (about 120 feet) and is a free attraction and is not barricaded from the public.
Trim Castle, also called King John's Castle, is Trim's most storied focal point and remains Eurpoe's largest Norman castle. Construction began in 1174 to replace it's predecessor-a wooden fortress that was burned down during an attack by the King of Connacht (I paid attention on one of the guided tours.) Built on rasied ground, the castle overlooks the rapidly flowing River Boyne, which during Medieval Times was used to reach the castle by boat from the Irish Sea, 25 miles away.
The Castle was granted by the King of England to the De Lacys, the Noble family who had built it. It then persevered through several wars, including Oliver Cromwell's conquest of Ireland in the 1600's. It was ultimately granted to the Wellington Family after the Cromellian Wars. It remained in the family until Arthur Wellesley, who would later become Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, sold it to a private family-where it unfortunately fell into neglect. The Irish Government acquired the castle in 1993 and began almost immediate phases of restoration.
While it holds a storied history, Trim Castle is most famous as the primary filming location of the Academy Award winning movie 'Braveheart.'
Trim Castle is open to the public everyday from Easter Saturday to Halloween (October 31st) from 10am, with first tour at 10.30am, last entry at 5pm and last tour at 5.15pm. In winter it is open only on weekends and bank holidays. Entry onto the grounds and the keep for adults maxes out at 3.50 Euro and discounts are offered for seniors, children, groups and families. You can also enter the grounds only for 1.50 Euro but its far worth the extra money to enter the actual castle. The tour is about 45 minutes long and provides great insight to the Castle's history itself, which scenes of Braveheart were filmed where, and gives the opportunity to take some spectacular pictures of the town of Trim and the surrounding countryside.