A visit to the mighty Trim Castle is one of the most popular things to do in Meath, for good reason.
The castle here is arguably one of the most impressive castles in Ireland, and it has a fine bit of history attached to it.
In the guide below, you’ll find info on everything from opening hours and the tour to the Trim Castle Braveheart link. Dive on in!
Some quick need-to-knows about Trim Castle
Although a visit to Trim Castle is fairly straightforward, there are a few need-to-knows that’ll make your visit that bit more enjoyable.
Trim Castle is situated on the bank of River Boyne in the ancient town of Trim in Meath. It’s a 15-minute drive from the Hill of Tara, a 30-minute drive from Slane Castle and a 35-minute drive from Newgrange.
2. Opening hours
Trim Castle is open seven days a week from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm. Keep in mind that, during the summer months, the castle gets very busy with visiting tours. If you can, try and arrive either very early or later in the evening.
An adult ticket will cost you €5, a senior ticket is €4 and child and student tickets are €3. There are also special offers for families (and Heritage Card holders!) and you can get a discount if you decide to skip the visit to the castle’s keep.
Yes, there’s a Trim Castle Braveheart link. Some scenes from the 1995 blockbuster were recorded in and around the castle. You’ll find a video of the scene below.
A speedy history of Trim Castle
Trim Castle is the biggest Anglo-Norman castle in Ireland. It was built shortly after the arrival of the Anglo-Normans in 1172 by Hugh de Lacy, over the course of 30 years.
But the newly built structure was seen as a threat by Ruaidrí Ua Conchobair (Ireland’s High King), and it was attacked by his forces in 1173, while the castle was under the command of a baron named Hugh Tyrell.
The stone castle
When Tyrell rebuilt the castle he used stone and he added a curtain wall, a large castle gate, a moat and a stone keep. In fact, most of the structure that can be admired nowadays was completed in 1220.
In 1224, Trim Castle witnessed more conflict. Walter de Lacy, who had just returned from a stint in England, found that his brothers had took control of Trim while he was away. The result was a 7-week battle, which Walter won.
From generation to generation
After the de Lacy family, the castle was passed to Geoffrey de Geneville, a French knight and crusader. De Geneville made a few additions to the castle, such as the great hall beside the keep as well as the Dominican Blackfriary.
After de Geneville, the castle was passed to the Mortimers family and it then become the property of the Duke of York. During the 15th century the War of the Roses broke out and the castle was seised as royal property.
Things to see and do at Trim Castle
So, there’s plenty to see and do in and around Trim Castle, regardless of whether you pay to go inside or just admire from afar.
1. The Tour
Guided tours of Trim Castle are available every day. They last about 45 minutes and begin at the top of the stairs at the elevated keep entrance. During the tour, you will discover the story of the castle and its surroundings.
You will also have the chance to walk on a modern staircase that will guide you through the many different rooms and floors in the castle. Your guided tour will also bring you to the top of the structure from where you will get an incredible view over the town of Trim and its surroundings.
2. The keep
The most interesting feature of the castle is its keep, also known as the great tower. It is the only Norman keep with a cruciform shape in the whole of Ireland. This massive tower has three stories and twenty corners.
Through the guided tour you will be able to access modern walkways that will allow you to see the keep from above.
3. Curtain wall
Despite being impregnable at the time, the keep was further protected by a ditch, a curtain wall and a moat. On the southern side of the curtain wall, you will find six towers as well as a barbican that had the role of spanning the moat surrounding the castle. At the southwestern side of the curtain wall, a gate tower with a gateway can also be found.
4. Soak up the view from afar
The guided tour will bring you to the very top of Trim Castle. From here you will be able to see the whole town of Trim and many of its amazing ancient buildings (see out guide to the best things to do in Trim).
If you look towards the River Boyne you will see St. Mary’s Abbey with its yellow steeple, the oldest bridge of Ireland and the Sheep Gate. Take a moment to breathe in the fresh air and admire the tranquil countryside of Meath.
The Trim Castle Braveheart link
Yes, parts of Braveheart were filmed at Trim Castle (hit play above for one of the scenes). Although the legend of William Wallace is set in Scotland, a good chunk of the movie was filmed in Ireland.
Trim Castle was transformed for the movie, with the additions of a huge castle gate along with many wooden buttresses.
The castle was used to depict the walled city of York in England. Parts of the Wicklow Mountains National Park and the Blessington Lakes were also used during filming.
Things to do near Trim Castle
One of the beauties of Trim Castle is that it’s a short spin away from many of the best places to visit in Meath.
Below, you’ll find a handful of things to see and do a stone’s throw from Trim Castle (note: if you’re looking to stay in the town, nip into our Trim hotels guide).
1. St. Mary’s Abbey (5-minute walk)
Clearly visible from Trim Castle, on the other side of the river Boyne, you will find the beautiful ruins of the ancient St. Mary’s Abbey. At the beginning of the 14th century, this abbey became a major pilgrimage site in Ireland. People would come from all over the country to see ‘Our Lady of Trim’, a wooden statue that was believed to perform miracles.
2. Bective Abbey (10-minute drive)
You’ll find another majestic ancient building, Bective Abbey, a handy 10-minute spin from Trim Castle. This abbey was founded in 1147 for the Cistercian Order and it can be visited for free. The main remains of the abbey date back to the 13th and 15th centuries and include the chapter house, the church and the cloister.
3. The oldest bridge in Ireland
Just a few meters away from Trim Castle you will find the oldest unaltered bridge of the whole of Ireland. This stone structure was built in 1330 and it hasn’t been modified since then. This is the perfect place to stop and take a little break before heading for a bite-to-eat.
4. Food in the town
There’s a handful of great places to eat in Trim. Rosemary Bistro is a great option for breakfast or lunch. If you like Indian food, try Khan Spices Indian Restaurant. This restaurant has been awarded the Tripadvisor Certificate of Excellence for five years in a row.
FAQs about visiting Trim Castle
We’ve had a lot of questions over the years asking about everything from ‘How old is Trim Castle?’ to ‘What is the Trim Castle Braveheart link?’.
In the section below, we’ve popped in the most FAQs that we’ve received. If you have a question that we haven’t tackled, ask away in the comments section below.
Is Trim Castle worth visiting?
Yes! Trim Castle is one of the most impressive castles in this corner of Ireland. It’s soaked in history and it’s impressive, both when you explore inside it and when you admire it from afar.
Was Braveheart filmed at Trim Castle?
The castle was used to depict the walled city of York in England. The Wicklow Mountains National Park and Blessington Lakes were also used.