Another day, another castle. This time, it’s Trim Castle in the Royal County of Meath. Eager to run in yet another new location, Teen Girl and I took a trip there during the week, winding our way along the River Boyne to this glorious Norman Castle.
As luck would have it, the last tour of the Castle keep was fully booked when we turned up so we opted for a self-guided trip around the Castle grounds.
Entry was via this portcullis with its murder hole conveniently located to take care of unwelcome visitors.
Evidently, the crew of Brave Heart made it through, as this, the largest Anglo Norman castle in Ireland was one of the locations for that Mel Gibson film.
And it’s easy to see the appeal of the place. Virtually intact, the keep takes you right back to the 1170s when Anglo Norman invader, Hugh de Lacy, was granted the Kingdom of Meath and started to build the castle there. His son Walter continued the work and, it is reckoned, that it took thirty years in all to build it, with other additions made by subsequent owners.
Of course, religion and government frequently intermingle down through the ages, so it is no surprise to see that the castle is flanked by churches. One is the ruins of St. Mary’s Abbey, known as the Yellow Steeple. Its heyday ran from the 12th to the middle of the 16th century.
On the other side lies St Patrick’s Church, a Roman Catholic church that was built in the begining of the 20th century.
The castle keep itself, is a fascinating building. Extremely tall and with immensely thick walls, everything about it speaks of defense and power. Unfortunately, only those on the guided tour were permitted to enter but I’d been before and recall a remarkably intact interior, complete with garderobe. The words garderobe means wardrobe in French. And this the ancient system of toilet which was so called because the ammonia released from the contents fumigated any clothing suspended above it for that purpose. Yes, I’ve the kind of brain that stores up those nasty little details.
I also recall terrifyingly steep stone spiral staircase which can be climbed right up to the battlements. And the views, which include the Hill of Slane, and the Hill of Tara, are well worth it.
But we were content with our ramble around the grounds. Just seeing the thickness of the stone walls conjures up all sorts of images of the labour involved in such buildings. And one can imagine the clatter of hooves, the clash of sword and shields and the blood spilled in the push and pull of power over the ages.
Definitely a place back then for those who were brave of heart, nowadays it is imminently suited to anyone looking for a stunning location.
Having explored a little history, it was time for our trot around Trim. It seems everyone must be holed up in the castle there, as the town itself was very quiet.
But it was no less pleasant for all that, and even though we were caught out by yet another shower, this seemed the perfect place not to whine for a change, and to soldier on with a brave heart.