Trim Heritage Town
Trim Heritage Town
One of Ireland's best-preserved medieval towns.
Trim is situated on the banks of the River Boyne in an area of fertile plains.
According to legend, St. Patrick and his nephew St. Loman built a church here on land granted to them by the son of the High King. They built it near an ancient ford that crossed the river just beyond the bridge and it was from this that Trim got its name.
The town developed further after the Anglo-Norman conquest, when Hugh de Lacy was granted the lordship of Meath and decided upon Trim as the site of his main caput, or base. He built the great castle at Trim in 1172.
In the 13th century the town was enclosed within a circuit of stone walls. Augustinian (1202), Franciscan (1260), and Dominican (1263) friaries were established, indicating the growing prosperity of the town. In the later medieval period Trim became an increasingly exposed frontier, standing between the (sometimes) hostile worlds of the Anglo-Normans and the Gaelic Irish. Aside from Trim Castle, which dominates the town, the fragments of the medieval town are still clearly visible.
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 of the Dominicans was founded by Geoffrey de Geneville, Lord of Meath in 1263.
During the early 1700's Jonathan Swift, author of Gullivers Travels, was presented with the Vicarage of Laracor in Trim and spent some of his happiest times in the area as judged by the 'Journal To Stella' which was published after his death. The Duke of Wellington, Sir Arthur Wellesley was educated in Trim and residents erected the Wellington Column to commemorate on of their past pupils.
The wall which circled the settlement is visible in part, mainly around Castle St. and Emmet St. west of the castle. The Sheep Gate is the only surviving of several medieval gateways to the town. The jagged Yellow Steeple was formerly a seven-storied church tower belonging to St Mary's Augustinian Abbey, it gets its name from the colour of the stonework in the evening sun. St Patrick's Church (Church of Ireland) is primarily a 19th century structure, though with medieval remains. The tower on its west face incorporates the arms of Richard, Duke of York, Lord of Trim and Viceroy in Ireland from 1449. Interestingly, Ireland's oldest complete and unaltered bridge (dating from 1393) crosses the Boyne at Trim.
Newtown Trim and the medieval Porchfields
A few kilometres downstream of Trim stand the ruins of Newtown Trim – a large medieval cathedral, two monasteries and a small church. These ruins symbolise the failed attempt by the first English Bishop of Meath, Simon de Rochfort, to establish a rival town to de Lacy's Trim.
Famous inhabitants of Trim
During the early 1700s Jonathan Swift, author of Gulliver's Travels, lived at Lacacor, near Trim, where he served as vicar to a small congregation.
Arthur Wellesey, better known as the 1st Duke of Wellington or ‘the Iron Duke', was educated at Trim and spent much of his childhood at the nearby Dangan Castle, his father's country house (now in ruins). He was also an MP for Trim. He is credited with Napoleon's defeat at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815, and later served as Prime Minister of Great Britain (1828-30).
Don Ambrosio O'Higgins (1720 – 1801), the Spanish Viceroy of Peru and Chile, was born at Dangan Castle. His son, Bernardo O'Higgins, went on to become the ‘Liberator of Chile'.
Ireland's greatest mathematician, Sir William Rowan Hamilton (1805–1865), grew up with his uncle James Hamilton in Trim, in one of the former St. Mary's Abbey buildings beside the Yellow Steeple. He was educated in his uncle's school in St. Mary's Abbey and quickly show his potential, whilst also exploring the many archaeological sites of the Boyne Valley. William had a successful scientific career, most famously discovering the algebra of quaternions while walking along the Royal Canal in 1843.
Trim Visitor Centre
Housed in the old Town Hall Building Trim Visitor Centre has a Medieval Armoury Tour. Here visitors can enjoy history brought back to life in an exciting way for everyone to enjoy. The Visitor Centre also has a Tourist Information Point and a Gift Shop.