Trim was used as a centre of administration for the lordship of Meath,
an administrative area created during the reign of King Henry II
(1154-89). Hugh Lacy (d.1186) acquired the area in 1172 and
a ringwork castle beside the River Boyne. Work on the bulk of
masonry took place under Hugh and his son Walter (d.1241).
Walter the castle passed to Geoffrey Geneville of Vaucouleurs in France
and Ludlow, then in Wales. In 1304 both Trim and Ludlow
his son-in-law, Roger Mortimer. The fortress then remained in
that family's hands until they died out in 1425 and saw one of the few
royal visits of the middle ages when Richard II came to stay
immediately prior to his dethronement in 1399. On his
the king left they young Harry of Monmouth lodged in the Dublin
gatehouse with Duke Humphrey of Gloucester. The fortress
to the Yorks in 1425, who went on to became kings of England in 1461.
castle is reckoned to be the largest true castle in Ireland.
the centre of the original ringwork stands a large keep of cruciform
shape. This means that it has 20 vulnerable
measures some 65' by 60' with walls 12' thick in places. To
great tower the four rectangular turrets were added centrally making
for the odd design. Entrance was gained through one of these
turrets which had the standard chapel above the entrance. The
tower keep is of three storeys and stands 75' high.
suggests it was commenced by Hugh Lacy soon after his arrival in the
district and then subject to two further phases under his son, Walter
Lacy in 1196 and 1201–5. Internally the lower
are rounded to the point of being near Romanesque. Higher up
are much gentler curves.
Surrounding the keep was an eye-shaped enclosure boarded by the River
Boyne and about 500' E to W and 330' N to S. The surviving
curtain walls, about 6' thick are predominantly of two phases. The N
half of the enceinte is defended by rectangular towers, including the
Trim gate, which are probably the work of Hugh Lacy (d.1186) and have
near Romanesque arches. The Trim gate was built on top of an
earlier wooden gateway and had its upper floor replaced with an
octagonal structure in the 13th C. Finally the southern half
the enceinte was built, including the Dublin gate, probably between the
1190s and 1210s. This contains five irregular D-shaped towers
about 20' in diameter and the circular Dublin gatehouse. The
towers were all open backed in the style common in the late 12th and
early 13th centuries, although some were later walled in.
Would you like to visit Trim as I am leading a tour there in
October. Please feel free to look over the details by clicking
Paul Martin Remfry