Trim Castle

From Academic Kids

Norman , Trim Castle - before renovation
Norman Keep, Trim Castle - before renovation

Trim Castle, Trim, Ireland covers an area of 3 hectares, it is the remains of the largest castle in Europe, which was Norman in origin, built primarily by Hugh de Lacy and his son Walter de Lacy.

The central three storey building, called a keep, donjon or great tower, is unique in its design, being of cruciform shape, with twenty corners. It was built in at least three stage, firstly by Hugh de Lacy (c.1174) and then in 1196 and 1206 by Walter de Lacy. The keep was built on the site of a previous wooden fortification which was burnt down in 1173, following attacks by the Gaelic King of Connacht, Rory O'Connor.

The surviving curtain walls are predominately of mid 13th Century origin on the Dublin and Town Side, while on the River side, are almost completely destroyed.

Other building within the Castle Ground, include a very unusual circular Barbican gate in the Curtain Walls, serving as the 'Dublin' gate, a square gate house on the town side, called the Trim Gate, the outline of a mid 13th Century Great Hall, and a Mint.

The Castle was used as a centre of Norman administration for the Liberty of Meath, one of the newly created administrative areas of Ireland, created by Henry II of England and granted to Hugh de Lacy. He took possession of it in 1172, and would originally have appeared to have chosen the sea port of Drogheda as his caput. However, in 1174, following the destruction of the original castle, the newly refuburished Castle was chosen for this purpose.

The Castle site was chosen, as it is on raised ground, overlooking a fording point over the River Boyne, and although about 25 miles from the Irish Sea was accessibile in Medieval times by boat up the River Boyne.

Over the first two hundred years, Trim Castle was the centre of administration for Meath and demarcated the outer boundary of The Pale, however in the 16 and 17th Centuries it had declined in importance, except as an important Military site. After the Cromwellian wars, the Castle grounds were granted to the Wellington family who held it until the time of Arthur Wellesley, who sold it. In following years it passed into the hands of the Plunkett family, who held it until the 1993, when the state bought the Castle and began conservation and archaeoligical works on it.


The Castle is sometimes noted for the small part it played in the filming of the Mel Gibson directed film Braveheart. It is currently opened to the public. It is open everyday from Easter Saturday to Halloween (October 31st) from 10am, with first tour at 10.30pm, last entry at 5pm and last tour at 5.15pm. In winter it is open only on Weekends, and Bank Holidays. See links below for more information.

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