Trim; Ireland`s first great church
Trim is famous as a Medieval town, it contains more Medieval buildings than any other town in Ireland. However, as with much of the Boyne Valley, the town's history predates this time period. Whilst St. Patrick was busy converting King Laoghaire, another one of his followers, Loman, had been ordered upstream to carry on with their work. He arrived at Trim, where the townscape would have contained none of today's impressive medieval ruins, and met with Feidlimid, son of King Laoghaire. Feidlimid immediately converted to Christianity and dedicated all of his territory to Patrick. On Patrick's arrival in Trim, Ireland's first great church was built. Unfortunately it no longer remains today but many locals believe that it was on the site of the present Protestant Cathedral of St. Patrick. Others argue that it was at the original St. Mary's Abbey, rebuilt centuries later.
The assassination of Hugh de Lacy: A visit to Trim today would not be complete without enjoying the Trim Historic Trail. There's an abundance of magnificent medieval ruins, most notably the imposing Trim Castle; the largest Norman castle in Europe, built in the late 12th century and designed by Hugh de Lacy, Lord of Meath. Sadly he never saw the castle completed. He was assassinated at Durrow in 1186, where he was inspecting the recently completed castle when Gilla O'Megey killed him. It is believed a local chieftain by the name of Fox O'Kearney ordered the assassination, that's the same Fox O'Kearney that is believed to be the great, great, great…grandfather of President Barack Obama.
For those with a keen interest in Horrible History Trim is a treasure throve of the gruesome of tales about the judiciary system of medieval times. “Guilty until proven guilty” was the basis the courts worked on and Trim was the most important Norman settlement in Ireland and the place of the Irish-Norman Parliament, so a good example had to be set. Life in the Middle Ages wasn't all great Knights and fine Castles as evident in the old saying, “Kells for brogues, Navan for rogues and Trim for hanging.” A guided tour of Trim today will offer remarkable insight into how brutal life in this postcard perfect town was.
A place of pilgrimage: Trim wasn't all hardship, it was extremely wealthy with a very high density of Abbeys, five in total. It was a major pilgrimage site for about 400 years from 1397 onwards. English soldiers under the protection of the King and Irish rebels under pardon of the King travelled from far and wide to see the wooden statue “Our Lady of Trymme.” The statue was housed in the church at St. Mary's Abbey and it was said to have worked many miracles. Perhaps one of the most peculiar miracles is that of the large bellied woman who gave birth to a litter of cats when she came to see the statue. Unfortunately under the order of Henry VIII, during the Reformation, relics such as Our Lady of Trymme were destroyed and the Abbeys were dissolved. However local stories claim that the wooden statue was saved by the town's people and kept at Hammond's house only to meet its end in a bizarre series of events. Following victory in a battle around Trim William Coote's son Rice decide to build a fire to warm himself at Hammond's house while his father inspected the troops. Whilst searching for something to burn he unknowingly came across the wooden statue. Unaware of his discovery he chopped it up and burnt it. At the same time of this unwitting act his father William was shot dead by his own troops during their inspection. Visitors today can see a new Our Lady of Trim statue at Maudlin's cemetery.
The Jealous Man and Woman: The tomb known locally as “the Jealous man and Woman” is the resting place of Sir Lucas Dillon and his wife Lady Jane Bathe. Sir Dillon was a leading Irish Barrister and judge during the Elizabethan era. He held the offices of Attorney General for Ireland and Chief Baron of the Irish Exchequer. Why the tomb became known as ‘the jealous man and woman” remains a mystery. However, Dillon's second wife Marion Sherle is buried in an identical tomb with her first husband Christopher Barnwell at Lusk, Co. Dublin. Locals believe that perhaps one of the tombs was built as a jealous response to the other tomb. Who was jealous of who remains uncertain. The most intriguing folklore surrounding the impressive altar tomb is its unusual curative powers. Locals believe that if you stroke a wart with a pin or needle and leave it in the tomb the wart will disappear as the pin rusts. Be warned though, if you take somebody else's pin off the tomb for your own use you'll not only keep your warts but you'll inherit the warts of the pin's rightful owner.