At an early date, a monastery was founded at Trim, which lay within the petty kingdom (tuath) of the Cenél Lóegairi. It is traditionally thought to have been founded by St. Patrick and left in the care of its patron saint Lommán, also locally known as Loman, who flourished sometime between the 5th and early 6th century. When domestic politics endangered the position of Lommán’s foundation, the church of Armagh assimilated Lommán into the dossier of St. Patrick, making him a disciple of that saint. Attackers burned the church several times in the twelfth century, during which it was refounded as an St. Mary’s Abbey under Augustinian rule. The abbey church was the sanctuary for “Our Lady of Trim”, a wooden statue reported to work miracles. The statue made Trim a major pilgrimage site from at least 1397. During the Reformation, the statue was burned and Henry VIII dissolved the abbey. The abbey’s bell tower, the “Yellow Steeple”, is the primary remnant of St. Mary’s.
Lying 61 m above sea level on the River Boyne, Trim became one of the most important Hiberno-Norman settlements in the Middle Ages. In the 15th century the Norman-Irish parliament met in Trim. Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington is reputed to have been born in Dangan Castle between Trim and Summerhill, and a large column to him was erected in the town in 1817. The town’s main feature is Ireland’s largest Norman castle, Trim Castle; other features include two ruined church complexes, the Boyne River for fishing and the Butterstream Gardens, visited by Charles, Prince of Wales in the mid-nineties (no longer open to the public).
The town is home to Western Europe’s largest Norman castle, Trim Castle (or King John’s Castle), which was built in the late 12th century following the Norman invasion of Ireland’s eastern seaboard. Trim and the surrounding lands were granted to Hugh de Lacy, a Norman knight. Richard II of England stayed there before being ousted from power. Once a candidate to be the country’s capital, the town has also occupied a role as one of the outposts of the Pale. It was also designated by Elizabeth I of England as the planned location for a Protestant Dublin University (known as Trinity College, Dublin). However this was revised by Sir Francis Drake, who advocated the case for locating the University in Dublin. In 1649 after the sacking of Drogheda, the garrison of Trim fled to join other Irish forces and the town was occupied by the army of Oliver Cromwell. There were many local disturbances in neighbouring villages in the Irish Rebellion of 1798, most infamously the battle on the Hill of Tara, following the dispersal of the Wexford rebellion. Trim was represented by Arthur Wellesley in the Irish Parliament from 1790 to 1797. Click here for more information.
Just northwest of the St Mary’s Abbey building is the 40m Yellow Steeple, of Trim Castle in Trim, Meath. Once the bell tower of the abbey, dating from 1368 but damaged by Cromwell’s soldiers in 1649. It takes its name from the colour of the stonework at dusk.
The tower, constructed of punched and squared lime stone, served as the abbey’s bell tower. The tower still retains the remnant of a spiral staircase, which was built without a newel. The eastern wall rises seven storeys and the southern wall reaches five, but little to nothing remains of the other sides of the formerly square tower. The eastern wall retains two clasping corner buttresses. The walls are mostly plain with a few windows and other simple decoration. The most elaborate feature is the double-pointed belfry window underneath a flower-let formed by a tracery pattern. The south wall is partly built of rubble suggesting that it was an interior wall. There are signs that a tall pointed object, such as a funerary monument, was connected to the south wall. The abbey church most likely was connected to the tower from the south. Click here for more information.
The 19th century saw the construction of Trim Courthouse, St. Loman’s Catholic church, St. Patrick’s Anglican church, the Wellington column, the current Bank of Ireland building, and Castle Street by Lord Dunsany, a major landowner. Following the Great Irish Famine of 1846-1849, the practices of agriculture in the hinterland altered, with a change in emphasis from tillage to stock raising. This resulted in a change in the business life of Trim. Trim developed as a market town for the productive agricultural hinterland. Some small-scale local industries were developed including envelope, and leather product manufacturing. Trim was also chosen as location for the Timoney Engineering company to make Fire Tenders. However in the main the town continued to mainly be a service centre for its immediate area.
Also known as St Patrick’s Cathedral, Trim is situated in Trim, 25 miles north/east of Dublin. Because of its close proximity to Dublin, the town and surrounding area is seen as part of the commuter belt. The surrounding countryside is probably made up of some of the best agricultural land in the country. The present Church was built in 1803. It replaced an earlier church, which dated back to the 15th century. Click here for more information.