Trim Castle – the biggest Norman castle in Ireland

Last updated on May 16, 2024

When we first came to Trim Castle, I thought of a Swiss cheese – it has so many holes too…

Trim Castle riverside
Trim Castle riverside (photo: Ulrich Knüppel-Gertberg)


Yes, it’s true, the castle has certainly seen better days – probably a few centuries ago. But it’s not its fault, most of the holes were probably caused by cannonballs.

Trim Castle is, after all, the largest Norman castle in Ireland and Great Britain – so it deserves a bit of respect. It is said to have once been the largest fort in Europe. Today it is a large ruin, but it is still partially intact and can be visited.

It is located in the small town of Trim, which claims to have the most medieval buildings in Ireland. I don’t know if this is true, but near the castle there is also Ireland’s oldest bridge and St Mary’s Abbey.

Trim Castle River Walk
Trim Castle River Walk (photo: Ulrich Knüppel-Gertberg)

In any case, Trim is a nice, small, colourful Irish town where you can easily spend some time.

We visited the castle and took a nice walk around it. The path runs partly along the banks of the River Boyne and is nice to walk.

Incidentally, we live in Ireland (second home, we’re from Germany). In the summer months, we run our motorbike rental business ( and our guest rooms here, south of Dublin.

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But let`s come back to Trim Castle, shall we?

Some background about Trim Castle

It was the Anglo-Norman Hugh de Lacey who had Trim Castle built as part of the Anglo-Norman conquest of Ireland in the 12th century. Just like several other castles in Ireland.

Trim Castle, however, was larger than the other castles and took 30 years to complete. It originally consisted of the castle itself with a central residential tower, two wooden palisade rings around the castle and a moat.

The castle was extended several times over the following 150 years. The wooden palisades were replaced by solid castle walls with towers, the keep (residential tower) was given a fortified entrance, which also housed the stables, and other parts of the building were added.

Trim Castle
Trim Castle (photo: Ulrich Knüppel-Gertberg)

Back in the Middle Ages, the River Boyne could probably be navigated by boat for around 35 kilometres from the Irish Sea to Trim Castle.

In the 15th century, the Irish Parliament met several times at Trim Castle and coins were also minted behind its secure walls.

It was probably the army of the Englishman Oliver Cromwell who had holes shot in the castle walls to fight the Irish. Unfortunately, he organised this at many castles in Ireland. This was certainly understandable from his point of view, as the Irish castle lords usually gave up resistance after heavy bombardment, but the ugly holes can still be seen today.

Much later, the castle appeared in several films. The most famous of these is Braveheart with Mel Gibson. The walls of the city of York in the film are actually the walls of Trim Castle.

Today you can visit the castle from the inside or simply walk around the outside. See:

Picknick at Trim Castle
Picknick at Trim Castle (photo: Ulrich Knüppel-Gertberg)

What else you can see in the area

Trim Castle is located in the centre of the small town of Trim, around 50 kilometres northwest of Dublin. It also lies directly on the banks of the River Boyne. The Boyne Valley is a place steeped in history and is the founding site of Ireland’s Ancient East.

Here are a few highlights that you can combine with a visit to Trim Castle:

The Hill of Tara is nearby, where the Irish crowned their first High King. See:

The Neolithic sites of Bru na Boinne, with Newgrange as the main attraction, are also not far away. See:

Castle Street in Trim
Castle Street in Trim (photo: Ulrich Knüppel-Gertberg)

The remains of the old monastery of Monasterboice can also be found nearby, with a beautiful round tower and several ornate Celtic crosses. See:

And in a major battle in 1690, the Battle of the Boyne, the Irish suffered a heavy defeat at the hands of the English, which is still controversially ‘celebrated’ in Northern Ireland to this day. See:

The beautiful harbour town of Skerries on the coast is also very easy to reach from Trim. You’ll find a beautiful harbour promenade, a beach and two windmills. You can find my article on Skerries here:

Saint Mary´s Abbey at Trim Castle
Saint Mary´s Abbey at Trim Castle (photo: Ulrich Knüppel-Gertberg)


Trim is a nice little Irish town and the castle is a nice sight (despite the holes…)

I think you can fit Trim castle nicely into your round trip. You can also do it as a day trip from Dublin and then visit one of the other beautiful and interesting places nearby – in Ireland’s Ancient East.

Have fun at Trim Castle!

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Picture credits cover picture: Trim Castle, photo by Ulrich Knüppel-Gertberg (

Uli Written by:

Hello and welcome to my blog. Originating from Germany, my family and I now live in Ireland (at least part time). We have travelled this amazing isle many times and know many parts of it very well. In this blog, I would like to share valuabe tips and information for your next trip to Ireland with you. Enjoy the content, yours, Ulrich Knüppel-Gertberg