This is the stuff movies are made of. It’s no wonder that the makers of the movie ‘Braveheart’ chose Trim in County Meath as the shooting location for their epic thriller. One look at Trim Castle’s stony outline against a dramatic Irish sky and storybook images of valiant warriors and timid monks spring to life.
In Medieval times, Trim Castle stood like an imposing stone sentinel and powerful symbol of norman strength at the edge of the Pale, the small area of Anglo-Norman influence on Ireland’s eastern coast. To go beyond the Pale was to enter the hostile world of the Gaelic Irish. Here at the edge, the two sides would have met – in conflict and in battle.
Trim Castle, the largest Anglo-Norman castle in Ireland, was constructed over a thirty-year period by Hugh de Lacy and his son Walter. Hugh de Lacy was granted the Liberty of Meath by King Henry II in 1172 in an attempt to curb the expansionist policies of Richard de Clare, (Strongbow). Construction of the massive three storied Keep, the central stronghold of the castle, was begun c. 1176 on the site of an earlier wooden fortress. This massive twenty-sided tower, which is cruciform in shape, was protected by a ditch, curtain wall and moat.
Brú na Bóinne Visitor Centre is the first point of call for those wishing to take a tour of the megalthic passage tombs of Newgrange and view Knowth as tickets are required to gain entry. To view Dowth tickets are not required. The center itself contains extensive Interpretive displays and viewing areas. An audio visual presentation can be viewed in English, Irish. German, Italian or Spanish.
Newgrange (c 3,200 B.C.) is the best-known monument of the World Heritage Site of Bru na Boinne, predating the ancient pyramids by 400 years and Stonehenge by 1000. The passage tomb is surrounded by 97 kerb stones, the most impressive is the large entrance stone which is covered in swirls and designs. Inside the large mound there is a long passage leading into a chamber which branches off three ways. The corbelled roof inside the burial chamber it still watertight and supports an estimated 200,000 tonnes of cairn. The cremated remains of the dead were laid on large stone basins inside the chamber which usually were accompanied by grave goods.
At dawn on the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year (December 21st), a shaft of sunlight enters the chamber of Newgrange through a specially designed opening over the doorway which illuminates the Chamber. On December 21st 1967, Professor MJ O’Kelly was the first person in modern times to see this now world famous event.
The last tour of monuments is 1 hour 45 min before closing time of the centre and all groups of 15 or more must be pre-booked. Brú na Bóinne is a very busy site and visitors may experience delay during the Summer months. Individuals are advised to arrive early. For Guided Tours the maximum number for Newgrange is 24, the tour will last approximately 1 hour. For Guided Tours the maximum number for Knowth is 48, the tour will last approximately 1 hour. All groups of 15 or more must be pre-booked directly with Brú na Bóinne Visitor Centre.
Tickets for individuals and small groups are sold on a first come first served basis and cannot be reserved in advance. Leaflet/Guide book: English, Irish, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Japanese.
Photography / Video allowed: Yes, except inside the chamber at Newgrange. Permit required for commercial purposes, please contact the OPW.
Duration: 7 minutes.
Dowth is the least well known of the other two although it compares in size. The mound is surrounded by a kerb of 115 stones and has two tombs facing westwards. On the 21st of December, the rays of the setting sun illuminate this passage and circular manner in manner similar to the winter solstice at Newgrange.
At least thirty-eight of the stones at Dowth contain megalithic art, the circle meaning the most common motif used. In general, the art at Dowth is less impressive compared to Newgrange and Knowth.
The passage tomb complex lies to the west of Newgrange. The large mound covers two passge tombs placed back to back which is surrounded by 127 massive kerbstones. Outside this large passage tomb there are eighteen small tombs
Over three hundred decorated stones make up Knowth which represents the greatest concentration of Megalithic art in Western Europe. Recurring motifs on these stones include, circles serpentine forms and spirals. One of the most impressive features of Knowth is the corbelled roof in the eastern tomb ascending to a massive height of almost 6m.
2km west of Donore Village on the L21
The Sat Nav Coodinates for the Bru na Boinne Visitor Centre are Latitude 53.694567 and Longitude -6.4463.
|Mid Sept-End Sept||Daily||9.00-18.30|
|Nov-Jan (closed Dec 24th-Dec 27th inclusive)||Daily||9.00-17.00|