A short hour from the bustling city of Dublin is the tiny town of Trim and its impressive Norman castle. The castle and grounds are popular attractions for Irish and international visitors; the keep itself is well-preserved and presented with an informative and entertaining tour by the experienced guides. The grounds were famously used to film several exterior castle scenes in the movie Braveheart, but the castle is much more than a simple film set.
After touring and exploring the castle, the cute village of Trim and the Trim Heritage Trail offer quiet, low-key entertainment to occupy the rest of a day trip or a relaxing overnight stay.
Getting to Trim
- Bus Tours: During peak season, a number of bus tours visit Trim Castle from Dublin. To maximize travel time, many of these tours visit other nearby attractions in one long day. If your time is limited, one of these may be the best option. Shop around and research the other points of interest to find the tour that fits your budget, schedule, and sightseeing preferences. Remember, many of these tours run seasonally and can book up during busy travel times. Reserve seats in advance, if possible.
- Rental Car: Many say that rural Ireland is best seen at a leisurely pace by car—having full control over your route and your itinerary is certainly an advantage when driving through the scenic Irish countryside. When considering renting a car, keep in mind the hidden daily expenses of fuel and insurance and the stress of driving in Dublin. If Trim will be the first stop of an extended rural Irish adventure, the car will be the best way to go. If not, read on.
- Public Transport: The easiest and cheapest public transport option from Dublin to Trim is on Bus Éireann route 111. A return ticket from Dublin city center is reasonably priced and buses run frequently through the day. When planning your trip, check the most current timetables for changes or interruptions in bus service.
- Check opening dates and hours: The castle is open daily during peak season, but only on weekends during the offseason. The castle and grounds may also be closed for special events. Check the opening schedule online before planning your trip.
- Arrive early: Trim Castle is a very popular destination, tours can book up quickly. If possible, try to arrive before the first tour of the day—even when visiting on an offseason weekend.
- Go for the keep tour: Trim Castle sells two kinds of tickets: the castle excluding keep ticket only allows access to the outdoor castle grounds, not the old keep itself; the castle and keep ticket is only nominally more expensive than the grounds ticket and includes a comprehensive guided tour of the indoor keep. For the best experience with great views from the high ramparts; a look at the interior ballrooms, dining rooms, and bedrooms; and historical context to bring it all together, spring for the keep tour.
Walk the Trim Heritage Trail
Following the beautiful River Boyne heading east from the castle, the Trim Heritage Trail is a short, well-maintained footpath that passes by the remains of a fourteenth-century abbey, the old town wall, what was once the largest Gothic cathedral in Ireland, and a hospital from the early thirteenth century.
These ruins are free and open to the curious and careful explorer. The signboards along the trail provide even more insight into the power and influence of this area in times past. If time and weather permit, tour Trim Castle first to avoid the crowds, then spend your afternoon enjoying this beautiful stroll.
Trim is a convenient contrast to the busy excitement of nearby Dublin, and it gives the visitor a good feel for the history and culture of rural Ireland. With careful planning, a curious mind, and good luck with the weather, the smart traveler can enjoy a less expensive and worry-free visit to this popular attraction.