Trim is an ancient town whose Irish name “Bhaile Atha Truim” means the “town of the ford of the elder trees”. It’s foundation dates back to the fifth century when a nephew of St. Patrick named Loman founded a church near the ford of Trim. But the present town grew around the castle of Hugh De Lacy, Lord of Meath, which was built in 1172. This castle was the largest in the country and for centuries the castle was the keystone of Norman power in the area. Often called King John’s castle, although he took it over from Hugh’s son, Walter, in 1210, he never actually spent any time there.
On his only visit to the area on second and third day of July 1210 he claimed he could find no suitable lodgings so he had his tents pitched nearby. For many years thereafter a field near the town was called the Kings Park. In the fifteenth and 16th centuries the King’s Lord Lieutenant often used the castle as a residence. It fell to Cromwell in 1649 from which time it was never used as a military base. For centuries the castle was left to silently decay. Recently however the Office of Public Works has started large-scale restoration work.
Trim is also associated with the Duke of Wellington, born Arthur Wellesley in 1769, who attended school in Talbot Castle, which was an adapted Augustinian Priory used in the eighteenth century as an exclusive Protestant school. He stood for parliament for this area and later became the Prime Minister of England in 1828. It was to his memory as victor of Waterloo that the grateful people of Meath erected the Wellington monument, in 1817.
St. Mary’s Abbey of which a tall half broken tower, the Yellow Steeple remains was originally a centre of a great medieval pilgrimage to a statue of the Blessed Virgin. Sir John Talbot converted part of the abbey to a private manor house, which is called Talbot Castle.St Patrick’s Cathedral (Church of Ireland) which was built in 1802 on the site of a medieval church, the tower of which dates back to the 15th century, is also of interest.
Other places of interest are Sheep Gate, the last remaining gate of 5 in a ruined section of the town walls, as well as the Echo Gate, where an echo can be heard back perfectly across the Boyne River on speaking from the gate. Also in Trim is The Maudlin Cemetery which was the site of the Leper Hospital of Mary Magdalene, and later a cemetery which was used as a burial ground for the poor who died in the workhouse.