Cathedral of St. Peter and Paul

Further down the track from the medieval parish church stands the massive ruins of the Cathedral of SS Peter and Paul. We couldn’t help but be overwhelmed by their size and elegance. The cathedral was one of the largest and most sophisticated medieval cathedrals in Ireland – the present remains reflect only a portion of its former grandeur. It had a long nave, two transepts, and a choir with rib vaulting. In the south wall is a round headed sedelia, and there are a number of graceful lancet windows; it is a shame that those in the east wall were later blocked up. There is a large double piscina and some decoration at the windows and on a blocked doorway.

To the south of the Cathedral was the cloisters and domestic buildings, but only a portion of the refectory and partial walls of a tower house remain. Also standing are parts of an elaborate doorway into the chapter house. A kitchen was added to the west wing in the 13-15th century. The cathedral, priory and monastic center were once part of a busy medieval market centre that included the Hospital Priory of St John the Baptist, a parish church, and a mill. It was founded about 30 years after the “old” town of Trim was founded by the Anglo-Normans in the 1170s. Only the ruins of the aforementioned structures remain of this “town”. The church became the cathedral for the diocese of Meath after it’s founder, Simon de Rochfort, Bishop of Meath, petitioned the Pope to transfer his cathedral from Clonard to this site where it could be protected by the great Norman castle at Trim. Sadly, it was closed at the time of the Dissolution in the late 1530s, the aisles and transepts were removed, and the nave shortened by 80 feet with the construction of a new west wall.

Credits: Megalitic Ireland