Trim Castle

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Trim Castle

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The Castle was used as a centre of Norman administration for the Lordship of Meath, one of the new administrative areas of Ireland created by King Henry II of England. Hugh de Lacy took possession of it in 1172. De Lacy built a huge ringwork castle defended by a stout double palisade and external ditch on top of the hill. There may also have been further defences around the cliffs fringing the high ground. Part of a stone footed timber gatehouse lies beneath the present stone gate at the west side of the castle. De Lacy left Ireland entrusting the castle to Hugh Tyrrel, baron of Castleknock, one of his chief lieutenants. The ringwork was attacked and burnt by forces of the Gaelic High King of Ireland, Ruaidrí Ua Conchobair; Tyrrel, having appealed in vain for help, was forced to flee. Ua Conchobair soon withdrew and De Lacy immediately rebuilt the castle in 1173. His son Walter continued rebuilding and the castle was completed c. 1224. The next phase of the castle's development took place at the end of the 13th century and the beginning of the 14th century; a new great hall (with undercroft and attached solar in a radically altered curtain tower), a new forebuilding, and stables were added to the keep. On Walter's death in 1241 his granddaughter Mathilda ('Maud') inherited the castle. Her second husband was Geoffrey de Geneville, Lord of Vaucouleurs in France. Mathilda died in 1304, and Geoffrey entered the priory at St. Mary's in Trim. His son had died in 1292 and the estate passed to his oldest daughter, Joan. In 1301, Joan married Roger Mortimer and the castle passed to the Mortimer family who held it until 1425, when the line died out.[3] The estate passed to the next heir in the female line, Richard of York, who was killed at the Battle of Wakefield in 1460. In 1461, Richard's son, Edward IV, appointed Germyn Lynch of London to be his representative at Trim.
The inside of one of the towers of Trim Castle.
The castle site was chosen because it is on raised ground, overlooking a fording point on the River Boyne. The area was an important early medieval ecclesiastical and royal site that was navigable in medieval times by boat up the River Boyne, about 25 miles from the Irish Sea. Trim Castle is referred to in the Norman poem "The Song of Dermot and the Earl". During the late Middle Ages, Trim Castle was the centre of administration for Meath and marked the outer northern boundary of The Pale. In the 16th and 17th centuries it had declined in importance, except as a potentially important military site, and the castle was allowed to deteriorate. During the 15th century the Irish Parliament met in Trim Castle seven times and a mint operated in the castle. The Castle fell into decline in the 16th century but was refortified during the Irish Confederate Wars in the 1640s. In 1649 after the sacking of Drogheda, the garrison of Trim fled to join other Irish forces and the place was occupied by the army of Oliver Cromwell.

Trim Castle is open, on payment of an entry fee, to the public every day from Easter Saturday to Halloween (31 October) from 10am. The area inside the castle walls is freely accessible for an admittance fee, while access to the Castle keep is via a 45-minute guided tour. In winter, the complex is open only on weekends and bank holidays.

Points of note
Trim and Talbot Castles. Also visible are the Royal Mint, solar and Trim Cathedral
The Castle is noted for the part it played in the filming of the Mel Gibson directed film Braveheart.
In 2003 there was a controversy surrounding the decision by the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government Martin Cullen not to oppose the construction of a five-storey hotel across the road from the castle. The development had been condemned by a local councillor, a senior inspector in An Bord Pleanala (acting in a private capacity, and later choosing to withdraw his appeal lest it be considered a conflict of interest) and heritage bodies, many of whom had been critical of the government's treatment of other heritage sites such as Carrickmines Castle (the ruins of which were excavated partly to allow the completion of a roadway). The hotel was opened in August 2006. The recent addition of buildings (including offices for the OPW) outside the west side of the town has been even more visibly intrusive to the castle remains  .

Trim Castle Location

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