Trim Castle – Symbol of Norman Glory (History & Travel Tips)

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Trim Castle, known as the ultimate symbol of Norman glory,  is located along the River Boyne in Trim, County Meath, Ireland. It is the biggest Cambro-Norman castle in Ireland. Very few sites in Ireland have as many medieval structures as the historic town of Trim and the most significant of these structures is Trim Castle.

If you are a movie fanatic, you would be interested to know that the castle is also renowned for its role in the production of Mel Gibson’s movie Braveheart. Looking at the grandeur of the castle, you would understand why Trim was chosen as the filming site for the historical movie “Braveheart.” 

This article has outlined everything you need to know about Trim Castle, from its intriguing history to tips and tricks to make your visit worthwhile.

If you love to watch movies, you might recognize the castle. The castle served as the walled city of York in Mel Gibson’s Braveheart, it was also used to shoot sequences that took place in London.

Trim Castle set against a stunning Irish sky.
Trim Castle set against a stunning Irish sky. John5199, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
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Frequently Asked Questions

FOR HISTORY | BEAUTIFUL IMAGES | INTERESTING FACTS | TRAVEL TIPS

Early History

The Inception of the Castle (12th Century)

The history of this magnificent castle dates back to the 1170s after the Anglo-Normans had just arrived in Ireland. Hugh De Lacy made the decision to center his newly acquired rulership at Trim Castle. The location of the castle was carefully selected because it looked out over the River Boyne. During the medieval era, it was possible to sail down the river past the castle to the Irish Sea for trade, travel, and war.

Rebuilding a More Robust Structure (12th Century)

Originally, Hugh De Lacy built a wooden castle with a spiked stockade out of a ringfort–an early medieval form of castles. The Gaelic Irish considered the existing castle’s defence structure to be a threat. In 1174, Rory O’Connor, King of Connacht, stormed and demolished it. Hugh de Lacy and his son Walter started constructing a more resilient stone version of the castle. They did not want the castle to collapse again so the following year, and over the next decades, they built Ireland’s biggest Anglo-Norman fortress.

“Inside” view of Trim Castle’s scenic beauty.
“Inside” view of Trim Castle’s scenic beauty. Jawed Karim, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Switching of Castle’s Possessions (12th-18th Century)

Following de Lacy’s death, Geoffrey de Geneville inherited Trim Castle from the de Lacy family. He was a prominent French knight and a crusader. He turned out to be a devoted ally of Henry III of England as well. 

The castle went from the de Geneville line to the Mortimers, and then to the Duke of York until the War of the Roses when it was eventually taken as royal property. 

Trim Castle had been altered throughout the years to accommodate its occupants’ demands according to the shifting political situation. The Great Hall was a 14th-century addition. However, since the height of Anglo-Norman authority in Ireland, a large portion of its structure has, in fact, not been modified.

The keep of Trim Castle.
The keep of Trim Castle. Trim Castle Keep flickr photo by fhwrdh shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

Castle Under the Irish State (19th Century)

The Dunsany Plunkett family was the last Irish family to possess Trim Castle. In 1993, they sold the castle to the Irish State. The family still has access to the property for hunting and fishing. After a substantial program of restoration and conservation of the castle costing over 4.5 million euros ($4.65 million USD), the castle opened for tourism in 2000. The conservation efforts included installing a protective roof on the keep and partially restoring the moat. 

The entrance to Trim Castle.
The entrance to Trim Castle. Trim Castle flickr photo by Erik Cleves Kristensen shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

Current Times

Through the governmental body The Office of Public Works (OPW), the Irish Government now owns and is responsible for maintaining the castle. Trim Castle is known to be Ireland’s biggest, most spectacular, and best-preserved Anglo-Norman castle. Admire the grand architecture of the castle where you may gaze down over the castle keep’s interior from the modern walkways, allowing you to see the grandeur and strength of the enormous castle walls. 

What was once a noble place of residence for the royals is now open to the public. Book your tickets and take a guided tour around the castle to learn more about its historical existence. You can take a tour around the gardens and watch the beautiful scenic views as the sun goes down. 

Beautiful sunset at Trim Castle.
Beautiful sunset at Trim Castle. Trim Castle flickr photo by andrewcparnell shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

Interesting Trim Castle Facts

Trim Castle has a lot of intriguing facts relevant to it. Here is a selection of details you may find fascinating:

  • If you love to watch movies, you might recognize the castle. The castle served as the walled city of York in Mel Gibson’s Braveheart, it was also used to shoot sequences that took place in London.
  • A portion of the 1980 film The Big Red One, starring Mark Hamill and Lee Marvin, was also filmed at Trim Castle.
  • Due to how strong the castle was and having a direct link to the Irish Sea, Trim Castle functioned as the Lordship of Meath’s administrative center.

The three-story keep in the center of Trim Castle has a distinctive architecture that makes it particularly interesting. The castle keep’s shape is cruciform, which is very different from the rest of the castles in the country.

Visiting Trim Castle – Tips and Tricks

Trim Castle offers you an opportunity to travel back in time. Since most of the castle still retains its original form from centuries ago, you will get to experience one of the best experiences the country has to offer. If you’re eager to visit this ancient wonder, you can make your tour easy and enjoyable by following the suggestions provided below:

Scenic view of Trim Castle.
Scenic view of Trim Castle.

How to get to Trim Castle?

From the Irish capital of Dublin to Trim Castle, there are 3 methods of travel: bus, taxi, or by private vehicle. By bus takes around an hour for €10.07 ($10 USD). A taxi takes 40 minutes for around €75.51 ($75 USD), while a private vehicle takes the same amount of time but only around €13.09 ($13 USD).

Ticket Prices, Visiting Hours & Travel Tips

The site’s operating hours change throughout the year, becoming shorter during the off-peak season. You can visit the castle grounds free of charge. Guided tours of the castle grounds are available in limited slots from Monday to Friday between 10:00 am to 1:30 pm. 

The castle is usually open every day from early February until early November, but only accessible over the weekends in the remaining months. Ticket pricing for the castle includes the admittance fees as well as a guided tour of the keep. For adults, the price is €4.00 ($4 USD), for groups or seniors it is €3.00 ($3 USD), and for children and students €2.00 ($2 USD). For a family of four, the fee is €10.00 ($10 USD).

The beautiful view of Trim Castle.
The beautiful view of Trim Castle. Trim Castle flickr photo by Miky Jpeg shared under a Creative Commons (BY-ND) license

Things To Do at Trim Castle

There are many opportunities to have a good time and enjoy yourself at Trim Castle. Some of these activities are as follows:

  • Dive deep into the castle’s history on the ground floor exhibition at the castle. 
  • Don’t forget to view the beautiful sunset. Watch the beautiful Trim Castle against the orange sky from across the river. 
  • Don’t forget to enjoy a peaceful walk along the Trim Castle River Walk, beginning at Trim Castle’s entrance.
  • You will reach the chapel by ascending the spiral staircase in the East Tower of the castle. A stone-washing trough covered in carvings still remains in the chapel. 
  • The view of Trim town from the top of the castle is very beautiful and breathtaking. 

How Long Will It Take to Tour Around?

In roughly one to two hours, you should be able to wander about the castle, discover its history, and take in the beauty around it.

Some words of advice and tips: 

Here are some ideas and information to make your visit to Trim Castle easier.

  • Do not forget to tour the town of Trim as well, the town’s ancient 13th-century walls still stand around it. 
  • Please note that there is a 2-hour time restriction on the paid parking lot.
  • Visitors with disabilities have limited access. Please be aware that steep staircases in the keep are why visitors with disabilities cannot enter the area.
  • If you are visiting in the rainy season, it tends to get very muddy so make sure you are wearing the proper boots.

Quick Video Tour of The Main Trim Castle Areas

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Kainat Khalid
Kainat Khalid
Kainat is an English literature graduate with a profound interest in historical architecture. She has studied and explored the dusted pages of history for years which has ignited her passion to explore the existing remnants of our past glory and revisit them from a revised perspective. “There is no present without the past” is what she believes in and what drove her to begin cataloging these timeless historical monuments.

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