Happy 50th Post Everyone!
Went to Trim the other day. Largest Anglo-Norman castle in Ireland; Tiernan assumed I’d already been there and done that. But I hadn’t. So we rocked on up at about half eleven and jumped on a tour of the keep. You can’t miss Trim Castle, literally! It’s right in the centre of own, you’ll see it coming. I love it. It’s proper medieval, the original castle was built by Hugh De Lacy in AD 1172, but it’s mostly shell now of course. It is preserved in its current condition with only enough additions so as to make it safe for the public.
Tickets stand at €3 per Adult to enter the grounds €4 per Adult for the grounds and a keep tour. Tours last 45 minutes and run over the summer from Easter Saturday to the end of October. It’s worth it to get inside, but our guide was particularly monotonous. We warmed to him by then end because of the extra info he gave us on castle types after the tour. Well I think Tiernan liked him regardless so when I say ‘we’ I mean ‘me’. I think I was just annoyed about the whole ‘no recording the tour in the form of audio, video or written notes’ monologue he gave us at the start of the tour. A monologue a little contrary to the Heritage Ireland website! This is going against my positivism, but he didn’t count on the fact that I remember pretty much everything I’m ever told. Like to see them censor my memory! Ha!
Inside the hall where the lord would have had his audiences there are now three models showing the progression of castle construction.
From the castle battlements we could see all the way to the Hill of Tara. We also looked down upon the part of the castle that featured in Braveheart. I’m sure you remember Mel GIbson shouting ‘Freeedooommm!’, well this is where that scene took place. A little far away from Scotland, wouldn’t you say?
The stair cases are really narrow with uneven and trick stairs. All designed to give the advantage to defenders. They forced attackers on to their weak, left side and to stoop, baring their necks. This is the same principle that gave Europe ‘driving on the right side of the road’. Riding your horse up the right side meant your sword and sword arm weren’t accessible. It was meant to promote peace. Us from New Zealand and the British Isles are all about having our sword arms free to stab things! Hence the left side is the right, correct, side 😉 Especially if you want to win 😛
Another thing that really interested me was the graffiti. Artists, musicians, authors, so many people visited and, well squatted, in the castle after it fell into disuse. After some three hundred years those tags become just as interesting as the medieval history. I wonder who these people were!
Might not look like it, but Trim is a twenty-sided, cruciform castle. One entrance – an entire story up to give defenders another advantage -Mr. Monotony reminded us that the family in the west wing would have been the last reached in an attack. It looks impressive from every angle. Trim did see its fair share of action, however. During the Middle Ages it was the administrative centre of Meath. A strategically important site, it was refortified very deliberately during the 17th Century as part of Oliver Cromwell’s agenda in Ireland.
Another funny story that I remember is when we were all gathered around a fine example of a medieval garderobe – toilet. Our guide told us that samples of the sewerage contents was sometimes left on display. This was because this showed off the family’s wealth the finest. Dark stool, good diet, rich family. I’ve heard of strange ways to display ostentation, but that story was a bit much! Tiernan thought it was hilarious.
Bowel movements aside it was a lovely morning, well spent, a lot learned. Will leave you with a picture of me looking cool!