Photographer's Note

Pictured here is Trim Castle. On the extreme upper left, you can see part of the keep; the main stronghold of the castle. Along this, the castles curtain walls lead off to the Barbican gate, which in its day would have had a moat running underneath the archway. The portcullis is still in place, but this is no longer the main entrance for todays visitors.

The castle has an area of 30,000 square meters and is the remains of the largest Anglo Norman castle in Ireland. It forms an impressive view as you drive through the town, as it is set back from the road on an open green space beside the river.

It was built by Hugh De Lacy and his son Walter. This site was chosen because it is on raised ground, overlooking the river Boyne. This area was a very important medieval religious and royal site. It was built between 1172 and 1243 with many additions being built between those years.

despite the fact that Trim is 25 miles from the Irish sea, ships in medieval times ships were able to sail all the way up the river Boyne to make land and delivery of goods to the castle and the town. The town predates the castle though having grown around a monastery founded in the early 5th century.

The central keep of the castle is unique in that is cruciform in shape, and has 20 corners. The site of the castle is complimented by these surviving curtain walls. The north and west sides of the site were defended by huge rectangular towers dating back to the 1170's.

Under the protection of Trim Castle, medieval times saw the growth of the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul, at one time the largest Gothic cathedral in the country and the townlond of Newtown Trim. This area gave rise to St Johns Priory also. Both of these sites are now in ruins, and open to visitors.

The castle was last a military site when it was used to station the invading troops of Cromwell, though its importance had declined significantly before that. When Cromwells troops left in 1649 the castle fell into disrepair.

Excavations from 1971 to 1974 on the grounds at the castle revealed the headless remains of 10 men. Most likely these were criminals whose lifeless bodies would have been dumped when their severed heads were mounted on spikes outside the castle as a warning to others who considered a life of crime.

In the 1990's, it was decided to restore the castle, and the year 2000 saw it finally reopen to the public. Although visitors can explore the grounds at their leisure, access to the inside of the keep is by guided tour only, with part of the reason for this being safety. One of the features of the castle is the Stumble steps, spiral staircases that rise inside the castle, with each step a different height and width. Quite offputting for invaders who may break into the building wielding swords!

Because of the fact that most swordsmen were right handed, these stumble step staircases therefore rotate to the right, so the swordsman climbing cannot wield the sword, while those descending could. A left handed swordsman could command an impressive salary as a result of this, but was also more likely to die first.

In 2013, National Geographic announced the 10 winners of the places on earth that were most likely to open a child's eyes to the wonders of the world. Trim proudly made that list due to its castle, its ruins, the preservations work on them both and the abundance of medieval history here.

Thanks for looking!

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Additional Photos by Noel Byrne (Noel_Byrne) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4177 W: 26 N: 9240] (33774)
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