St Mary’s Abbey:
In the town of Trim, just under ten miles southwest of Navan, are the remains of the nationally renowned St Mary’s Abbey. The Abbey is believed to be built on the site of St Patrick’s first great church, which was destroyed twice, once in 1108 and again in 1127, by attacking invaders who burned alive those that sought sanctuary inside.
Augustinian rule was brought to the Abbey in the 1140s by St Malachy and continued as the church was rebuilt again in 1368, after another fire, as a tribute to the Virgin Mary. The wooden statue inside the new Abbey became famous throughout the land.
Our Lady of Trymme, as the statue became known, was reported to have miraculous healing and restorative powers. Pilgrims of all nationalities came from all over England and Ireland to visit the statue. It was said that one woman who touched the statue immediately gave birth to a litter of kittens.
Unfortunately, upon Henry VIII’s dissolution of the monasteries, the King ordered Our Lady of Trymme publicly burned. Legend has it that the statue was merely charred in the fire, though, and was hidden in Hammond’s house until Rice Coote, son of William Coote, unknowingly chopped it up for firewood, following a battle outside the town. The story tells that as Rice threw the statue on the fire, his father was shot dead by his own troops as he inspected them.
These days, all that is left of St Mary’s Abbey is the forty foot high ‘Yellow Steeple’ that once housed the church bells. Rumor has it that the church and its steeple were used as a garrison against Oliver Cromwell’s troops, before the Lord Protector attacked and had the structure destroyed.