Trim Castle, Trim. County Meath      1176

Trim Castle is not only the earliest stone castle to be built in Ireland but also the one of the largest Norman Castles in Europe. It was built in 1176 by Hugh de Lacy and his son Walter and took over a 30 years to complete. King Henry II granted Hugh de Lacy ‘The Liberty of Meath’ to curb Richard de Clare’s aka Strongbow’s expansionist policies in Ireland. Hugh de Lacy was so powerful at the time that King Henry was afraid that he would deny his allegiance and declare himself King of Ireland. The massive keep in the centre has a total of 20 sides and is built in a cruciform shape. It is protected by curtain walls, a moat, a ditch and the fast flowing River Boyne. During the 15th century the Irish Parliament met in Trim Castle seven times and a mint operated inside the walls. During it’s long history some of the most powerful families in Ireland have owned the castle including the Mortimers, the Wellesleys (Duke of Wellington) and the Dunsany Plunketts. Sections of the movie ‘Braveheart’ were also filmed here.