Trim Heritage Town
Trim, from the Irish ‘Baile Átha Troim’ which means ‘town at the ford of elderflowers’ is a small town that boasts more history, heritage and medieval architecture within its boundaries than some countries. Laying across both banks of the River Boyne, nine and a half miles southwest of Navan, the town of Trim grew from the early monasteries built by St Patrick in the 5th century AD.
During the 13th century, along with Augustinian, Franciscan and Dominican friaries, protective stone walls were built around the town, whose churches and monasteries were often plundered. Together with the established Trim Castle, rebuilt in 1224, the town became a frontier post between the borders of the Anglo-Normans and the Gaelic Irish.
Notable residents include author of Gulliver’s Travels, Jonathan Swift, who was vicar to a small congregation at Laracor, just outside the town, in the early 18th century. Sir Arthur Wellesley, later Duke of Wellington, who led the coalitions victoriously against Napoleon, and was twice British Prime Minister, was educated in Trim around the later part of the 18th century.
The walls have all but disappeared now, but fragments are still visible. The Sheep Gate is the only reminder of the various guarded entrances that once ringed the town. Among the structures still remaining are the Yellow Steeple ruins of St Mary’s Abbey, the nearby Newtown Abbey and its monuments, St Patrick’s Church, and Trim Castle itself, which was used as a location in Mel Gibson’s 1995 film Braveheart. Ireland’s oldest complete and original bridge, constructed in 1393, crosses the Boyne to connect the two sides of the town.