After leaving Dublin we decided to wander around Ireland for a couple of days before heading to our rental house near Bantry. I always joke with Kerri that she should have a bumper sticker that reads, “Will stop for Castles, Ruins, UNESCO Sites, and cheese.” So, it came as no surprise when she said she wanted to visit the town of Trim which just so happens to have the largest Norman castle in Ireland and is also close to a 5000 year old UNESCO Heritage Site.
Trim was only a 45-minute drive from Dublin and we had hoped to quickly find a nice and affordable B&B where we could drop off our bags and then head to the UNESCO site of Newgrange. But once in Trim we realized just how small it was and each hotel and B&B we stopped at was way over our budget. We decided to push on to the next town to see if we would have better luck. Just as we were about to leave town we saw one last B&B. Kerri jumped out and ran over to the place and chatted with the owner. He gave us a reasonable rate and after dropping off our bags we were off to Newgrange.
Once we arrived at the Brú na Bóinne Visitor Centre we were quickly disappointed. The tour buses that went out to the monuments were already booked for the day and we could not get out to see them. It turned out that the heritage sites in Ireland are free the first Wednesday of each month and it just so happened to be that day.
Undaunted, we toured the museum and then studied a map that showed how to drive to the monuments. After following some seriously narrow roads we arrived outside the Newgrange monument. We walked up to the guard shack and pleaded with them to let us in to take some photos. They pointed to a low stonewall inside the monument and said we could go up to that wall to take photos. After happily getting the photos that we were hoping to get, we returned to Trim.
Once back at the White Lodge B&B we spoke to the owner about what to do in town. He suggested we take a nice walk up the river to the ruins of the Newtown Abby and suggested a couple of places to eat in town.
The Boyne River flows right next to Trim Castle and has a great walkway that goes along it. We followed the river while Sydney enjoyed chasing the sheep that were grazing along the pathway and15 minutes later came to the ruins of the abbey. We had fun climbing on the ruins and looking at the old gravestones in the “burial ground.”
With the sun going down and feeling a bit hungry we ventured back into the quiet town. Having the ever-tight travel budget we passed on the recommended restaurants, which looked really good, and settled on a take-a-way place with cheap prices. The employees at the restaurant had a hard time understanding our thick American accents, but we finally ordered a couple of burgers and a bag of chips and Sydney ordered chips and beans. For our American family and friends, “chips” are French fries. Once our order was ready they asked if we wanted vinegar and salt and I nodded wondering if I had made the right choice.
Once back at out B&B we consumed our plunder and found it to be one of the best burgers we had ever had. And chips (French fries) with white vinegar and salt is amazing! We are now hooked on Irish chips. If you find yourself in Trim, we highly recommend the burgers and chips from the take-a-way place near the castle.
The next morning we went out to the dining room for our traditional Irish breakfast of white pudding (pork sausage with oats), black pudding (sausage with oats and blood), rashers (American bacon), toast, and an assortment of cereals and yogurts.
After clogging our arteries with Irish food we bundled up and ventured over to Trim Castle. We had a 45-minute wait before we could tour the inside of the keep so we enjoyed the outside and tried to stay warm.
Once inside the keep we got a tour of the 12th century ruin and learned about the history. If you have seen one castle ruin, you have seen them all. But this one was where they shot a lot of the castle scenes in the movie Braveheart. You know it’s a good ruin if a movie has been shot there!
We really enjoyed our one night stay in Trim and had fun seeing the sights and eating lots of greasy food. The town was so small that we could have seen everything in a few hours, but it was definitely fun staying the night and getting to the castle before the crowds.