Tuesday, July 23, 2013

A blustery day at Trim Castle

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This was it.


The very first castle on our whirlwind Ireland tour. Would it live up to my grandiose expectations?

With my archaeological fascination, I'd planned a two week tour that centered around old piles of rocks. Yesterday, I'd shivered in gusty winds while wandering the neolithic sites of Newgrange and Knowth, reveling in the weight of years settling down around me. Yet my real first love (sorry, sweetie)  has always been the middle ages. With so many castles on our "to do" list, this would be my first real taste of the days to come.

Trim Castle was billed as being a must see stop on our tour. Many scenes from Braveheart were filmed here, so it can be a "very busy site and visitors may experience a delay during the summer months. Access cannot be guaranteed. Please arrive early to avoid disappointment." (http://www.heritageireland.ie/en/midlandseastcoast/TrimCastle/)

UntitledYou don't have to tell ME something like that twice! In spite of the fact that my husband prefers to sleep in on vacation, I get us rolling early enough to arrive at the site shortly before it opens. Yes, you read that right... "before it opens".

Still slightly jet lagged, but with a good night's sleep and a fabulous latte under my belt, I'm raring to go. Rambling around outside of the walls before the official opening (for *cough* 30 minutes) was a great way to start the experience, even though it is still almost as blustery as yesterday.





UntitledI watch as locals use the path in the fields around the castle. Some jog with headphones in. Some walk and chat while pushing strollers. My head buzzes with the knowledge that this castle is just another part of their landscape; like a shopping center or a pizza place.














Ten AM finally rolls around, and I'm fidgeting with excitement at the gates.

"Would you like entrance to the grounds only, or are you planning on joining the guided tour of the keep?"

Really? Umm... yes, please!

The tower houses of Ireland all come complete with enormous spiral staircases, so I am doubly thankful for my good health and decent knees. The only way to get the full experience at Trim is to join the guided tour. I detest crowds, but I'm willing to put up with anything to get to see inside that keep!

The first tour doesn't begin until 10:30, so we have another half hour to wander inside the walls and snap photos. There are only a few other people on site at first, so my husband and I revel in the quiet. I wander off to touch the stones, imagining what life may have been like so long ago.

As the time for the tour approaches, we are completely chilled. The skies are grey, and the wind picks up speed again. We head up the stairs to the keep, huddled against the building to stay out of the gusts. A full tour group (of about 20 people) means that I have to endure the silly questions and entitled attitudes of tourists, but the guide and interior of the keep make it all worthwhile.

Trim has been restored enough to show us all the interior structures, but hasn't reproduced many of the floors or furniture. It's a great look at the "shell" of a large tower house. We see the open fireplaces, the garderobes, and a lovely family chapel.

As we walked out of the site an hour or so later, the grounds had begun to fill up with tourists. Getting there early was the right call, giving me the chance to steep myself in the quiet of the site before the hustle and bustle began.


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To see the rest of my photos from Day 2 of my trip.... check out my Flickr set.

I'm participating in the Slice of Life Challenge, hosted by the amazing educators at Two Writing Teachers. Now that March is over, we write and share on Tuesdays. Stop by to see what others are posting!

Also - if you stop by and comment, and you are also slicing - PLEASE feel free to include your URL in the comments. With over 200 people slicing, it is often hard to go find your specific link on the Two Writing Teachers page, and I'd love to come read YOUR slice too!

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