Thursday, June 4, 2015

Ireland Trip Part 11: Storming Trim Castle

Trim Castle
This is the 11th blog about our Ireland Trip, and at this point, we were still exploring the Boyne Valley, north of Dublin.This was our last stop on the incredible Boyne Valley Tour. After a nice lunch with Kieran (our driver/tour guide) he brought us to a tower castle called "TRIM CASTLE."
THE CONDITION TODAY - Like most other castles, this one is being restored. The inside is pretty hollow, and these castles usually had wooden floors which all rotted away, so you can stand on the first floor of the castle and look up 4,6 or 8 stories high, depending on how tall the castle is. 

Inside a restored room in Trim Castle
WHAT IS A TOWER CASTLE? -  Towers were the main defensive system for any castle. Also because of their height and position above and out from the main castle wall, they gave archers a clear view to target the enemy below.

Tom walking on what would've been the 2nd floor

Walls between rooms had fallen

WHAT IS TRIM CASTLE?  -Trim Castle is the largest Norman castle in Ireland built on the River Boyne in the town of Trim, county Meath. HOW BIG IS IT? - (it's 30,000 meters squared/322,900 square feet in area). It was built over 30 years during the late 12th and 13th centuries. TUDOR FAMILY TIE-IN? - The Castle was used as a center of Norman administration for the Lordship of Meath, one of the new administrative areas of Ireland created by King Henry II of England (or Henry Plantagenet) .
the wooden floors rotted away exposing all floors
   It was built by Hugh de Lacy and his son Walter it overlooks the Boyne  Valley (diverted to fill a moat) in a strategic position.  These great stone castles are potent symbols of the Norman occupation of Ireland.

The murder hole
WHAT'S A "MURDER HOLE"? - It doesn't sound good, and it's not. It's basically an opening over the front door of the castle, where castle defenders would drop hot, boiling oil on those attacking the castle. The one we saw here was still intact and now has a metal grate over it.

Ruins of a church seen from the top of Trim Castle
view inside the castle ruins
Castle grounds where "Braveheart" was executed in the film
SO, WHO WERE THE NORMANS? - The Normans were people who lived in Normandy in Northern France. They were originally Vikings from Scandinavia. (The name Normandy comes from the French normand, meaning Norsemen and Normans, according to  The Normans invaded England in 1066 and after killing England's King, they set about taking over the whole country. In order to do this, they needed to build defenses to protect themselves - so they built castles - while they advanced across the rest of the country and then came into Ireland. 

What the Trim Castle gate actually looked like in it's heyday
FACTOID - The movie Braveheart was shot here.  If you don't know what it's about, it starred Mel Gibson (whom is now a right-wing nut) as William Wallace. Wallace was a Scottish landowner who became one of the main leaders during the Wars of Scottish Independence and died Aug. 23, 1305.  SO, WHAT DOES HE HAVE TO DO WITH TRIM CASTLE? Nothing in history, but the character's film persona was executed on the grounds here for the film. (Let's just say you don't want to know what the British king did to him... or if you're morbidly curious, google it). 

Houses in the town of Trim

THE TOWN OF TRIM- The town around Trim Castle is quaint and there's very little in terms of shops. We had lunch in a hotel with Kieran and took a picture of some of the houses. 
  The river that runs on one side of Trim Castle is the Boyne River. Appropriate, since it's located in the "Boyne Valley!"
Map of the town of Trim and castle grounds



Gift/Memorial Suggestions

Several of our friends have lost loved ones (human and pets) and we found that one of the best ways to honor their memory is to give to an animal charity.
What better way to recognize a life of love, than by giving another life a chance for love?
We donate to many animal rescues, but because we volunteer with
DC Weimaraner Rescue and Coast-to-Coast Dachshund Rescue, those are our 2 favorites.
Consider giving the chance of life to a dog or cat.

About us

We're two married guys who enjoy the simple things in life, especially our dogs. We volunteer for dog rescues, enjoy splitting dinners, exercising, blogging, helping friends and neighbors, ghost investigations, coffee and tea, Tudor history, weather, superheroes, comic books, mystery novels, traveling, 70s and 80s music, classic country, piano, gardening, writing books on ghosts and spirits, architecture, keeping a clean house, cooking simply, and keeping in shape. You'll find tidbits of all of these things on this blog and more.

Tom and Rob Thinking Hard!

Tom and Rob Thinking Hard!
Wondering what home project to do next