Monday, December 3, 2012

TRIM CASTLE - COUNTY MEATH, IRELAND

The Castle was used as a centre of Norman administration for the Liberty of Meath, one of the newly created administrative areas of Ireland, created by Henry II of England and granted to Hugh de Lacy. He took possession of it in 1172, and would originally have appeared to have chosen the sea port of Drogheda as his caput. However, in 1174, following the destruction of the original castle, the newly refurbished castle was chosen for this purpose.

The castle site was chosen because it is on raised ground, overlooking a fording point over the River Boyne, and although the site is about 25 miles from the Irish Sea, it was accessible in medieval times by boat up the River Boyne.

During the late Middle Ages, Trim Castle was the centre of administration for Meath and demarcated the outer boundary of The Pale. In the 16th and 17th centuries it had declined in importance, except as an important military site. After the Cromwellian wars, the castle grounds were granted to the Wellington family who held it until the time of Arthur Wellesley, who sold it. In following years it passed into the hands of the Plunkett family, who held it until the 1993, when the state bought the Castle and began conservation and archaeological works on it.

The Castle is noted for the part it played in the filming of the Mel Gibson directed film Braveheart.

Trim Castle is open to the public everyday from Easter Saturday to Halloween (October 31st) from 10am, with first tour at 10.30am, last entry at 5pm and last tour at 5.15pm. In winter it is open only on weekends and bank holidays.

In the early 2000s the Irish Environment Minister, Martin Cullen, ordered his officials not to oppose the erection of a controversial five-story hotel beside the castle. His actions were condemned by planners, officials and heritage bodies, many of whom had been critical of his government's treatment of other heritage sites such as Carrickmines Castle (which was bulldozed to allow the completion of a roadway) and Carton House, which had its house turned into a hotel and its eighteenth century grounds turned into two golf courses. The hotel, which is very close to Trim Castle, was completed in August 2006.