Trim or Baile Átha Troim in Irish, meaning ‘town at the ford of elderflowers’, is a heritage town in County Meath. It is situated on the River Boyne and has a population of 9,194.
The town is famous for the medieval Trim Castle or ‘King John’s Castle’ – the largest Norman castle in Europe. It was built by Hugh de Lacy in 1173 following the Norman invasion of Ireland. Trim and the surrounding lands were granted to de Lacy, a Norman baron, who became Lord of Meath. The castle is fully restored and open to visitors. Interestingly, sections of the epic film, ‘Braveheart’, were filmed here.
Trim became one of the most important Hiberno-Norman settlements in the Middle Ages. In the 15th century, the Norman-Irish parliament met in Trim. Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington is reputed to have been born between Trim and Summerhill, and a large column to him was erected in the town in 1817 where it still stands today.
Trim once had the oldest and largest religious settlements in the country. Soon after proclaiming Christianity in Ireland, St. Patrick built a church here on land granted to him by the son of the High King. He built it near an ancient ford that crossed the river, just beyond the bridge, and it was from this that Trim got its name.
It is said that St. Patrick left the church in the care of its patron Saint Loman, who lived sometime between the 5th and early 6th centuries. The church was destroyed and rebuilt several times over the centuries but two of them exist today in the town – St Patrick’s Roman Catholic Church on Church Street and St. Patrick’s Cathedral (Church of Ireland) on Loman Street.
There is evidence of past religious activity throughout the town. St. Marys Abbey is the remains of an Augustinian monastery founded in the 12th century and later a focal point for pilgrimage. The Newtown Monuments consist of a large medieval cathedral, two monasteries and a small church which dates from 1206. The Friary of St. John the Baptist is the remains of a 13th-century Augustinian foundation, which was later converted to a hospital in the 18th century.
The Yellow Steeple is the most prominent of the many ruins in Trim. It overlooks the town from a ridge directly opposite Trim Castle. Originally part of the 13th century St. Mary’s Augustinian Abbey, the steeple dates from 1368. The Black Friary – A 13th-century Dominican friary located just outside the town walls was founded by Geoffrey de Geneville, Lord of Meath in 1263.
There are many other interesting sites and buildings throughout the town. The Town Hall is said to have been one of Thin Lizzy’s first concert venues and has seen U2 and several other noted bands play there over the years.
Though not much remains of the original walls of Trim, the “Sheep Gate” stands near the ‘yellow steeple’ and the castle. The wall in this area is in ruins but it marks the original town boundary.
Trim Circuit Courthouse is another historic building. It was built in the 19th century and overlooks the main street of the town. it was recently extended with an award-winning design, the courthouse is located next to the main entrance of the castle.
The building that houses the headquarters for the Office of Public Works in Trim, is a modern, state-of-the-art, circular structure on the outskirts of the town.
Trim is a really beautiful town. The Boyne river walk, which runs along the banks of the Boyne to Newtown abbey is breathtaking. It is no surprise that Trim has won the national ‘tidy towns’ competition several times over the years.