St. Mary`s Abbey
Today all that remains of St. Mary's Abbey is the 40m high east wall of the tower known as the Yellow Steeple. The diocese of Trim was comparatively small and the Bishop of Trim often served as the Abbott of St. Mary's. The abbey had many incarnations over the centuries but the ruins today are from the abbey built in 1368 and operated by the Augustinian order.
St. Patrick founded Ireland's first great church at Trim. The church was destroyed at least twice by attacking forces and it has long been believed that St. Mary's Abbey was founded on the site of the church ruins. In fact the church of the new abbey continued to serve as the parish church. St. Malachy introduced Augustinian rule to the Abbey between 1140 and 1148.
The church burned down again in 1368, however shortly after the fire, the abbey erected a statue of the Virgin Mary. The statue known as ‘Our Lady of Trymme' became famous for its curative powers and healing miracles. Trim became a major pilgrimage destination for Irish Rebels and English soldiers alike. Indeed, such was the statue's fame in the fifteenth century that some have referred to Trim as “the Lourdes of Ireland” at that time. Unfortunately the statue met its end during the Reformation with the dissolution of the monasteries under Henry VIII. The statue was publically destroyed. Although local legend suggests that the statue survived a lot longer than Henry VIII would have liked (See Myths and legends).
The abbey itself was destroyed by Oliver Cromwell. It is believed that the Yellow Steeple was actually used as a garrison against Cromwell's troops until the tower was destroyed. The Yellow Steeple is generally considered the only remains of the Abbey but there is some evidence that indicates the nearby manor house, Talbot's Castle, may have been the abbey's refectory before being converted into a private residence.
Listen to some wonderful audio about Trim Castle - part of the Boyne Valley Drive
Trim Visitor Centre and Ramparts Coffee Shop, Castle St., Trim, Co. Meath