Braveheart

Trim Travel Blog

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One thing I remember about our drive to Trim was the road construction; enough aggravation to make a preacher cuss.  Des was getting impatient with all the delays; he was planning on driving all the way home to Dingle after he dropped us off in Dublin and knew we needed to hurry along.   Finally, we arrived in Trim.   The castle was easy to find; it had a prominent location on a high knoll right beside the River Boyne.   Des pulled right into the visitor parking lot; we crossed the street and bought our tickets for the tour. 

Trim castle is an Anglo-Norman castle, possibly the first stone castle in Ireland, and has a reputation as king of Irish castles.  The original ringwork castle (a wooden struture in the middle of a large trench) was built in 1173 but was burned to the ground the same year by a native Irishman that was threatened by its presence.  Two years later, reconstruction of the great castle began and over the next 29 years no detail was overlooked and no costs were spared.   Henry II of England chose this location as one of the new administrative areas in Ireland and granted possession of the imposing structure and grounds to the de Lacy family.   Being situated at a fording point on the shores of the River Boyne, it would provide access by boat to the Irish Sea in these medieval times, thus making this an ideal location.  After the last of the de Lacy family members died in 1425, the great castle was abandoned until the 15th century when King Richard II of England allowed two of his wards to live there, one of them being the future King Henry V.   Trim fell into decline in the 16th century after it received extensive damage at the hands of Cromwell's army in 1649.    The once grand castle was passed from one owner to another over the next 300 years, at one time even being used as a municipal garbage dump.   In 1995 Trim served as the backdrop for Mel Gibson's character, William Wallace, in his epic film, Braveheart.

We entered the castle grounds through the unusual circular gate in the stone curtain wall.   Before climbing the stairs to enter the main keep (castle), we were given a guided tour of the grounds.  A deep circular hole in the ground that resembled a well turned out to be a medieval dungeon.   This is where you would end up if you made the king or lord or whatever really, really mad.   Sharp wooden spikes protruded straight up from the ground at the bottom of the 25-foot-deep hole.   The unfortunate recipient of the master's wrath would be hurled into the well, where he (or she) would be impaled by the sharp timbers and left to die.   They knew how to alleviate overcrowding in the prisons, that's for sure.   Another way to rid the countryside of thieves and such was beheading.  During recent excavations, ten headless bodies were uncovered on the castle grounds.   Usual practice in medieval times was to display the heads on tall posts at prominent points, visible to all villagers, thus discouraging crime.  You think??

Once we were on top of the third-story landing that led to the living quarters of the main castle, it was easy to see why this fortification intimidated even the King of England.   Gazing down across the riverbank, the fields, and the village below could easily create a feeling of power and strength as well as a false sense of security.   This fortress stood 450 years ~ then Cromwell's thugs entered the picture.   We climbed up an inside spiral staircase made of slippery stones to reach the upper floor.  The recent renovation had put a wooden catwalk around the perimeter where, 700 years ago,  the original top level had been located.  Our tour guide provided us with a truly unique experience.  She was well-informed and patient with our questions.  My price of admission was well worth it; I would suggest this tour to anyone interested in the history of this great land.   All photographs for this visit were lost somewhere in cyperspace.  Sorry about that.
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Trim
photo by: vixen2306