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A medieval Monday in Meath, the amazing Trim Castle and the Hill of Tara

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Trim Castle in Co. Meath
Trim Castle in Co. Meath
It is now August – as always, the summer is just shooting on by. The heat wave finally broke here, and today was actually downright chilly. In New England, August is the hottest and muggiest month of the year, but in Ireland, August is already looking towards fall. I’m much more of a jeans and a jacket type of gal rather than shorts and tank tops though, and I get sunburned after about three minutes in light, so I’m definitely not complaining.
 
Me and my new castle.
Me and my new castle.
Last Monday was another bank holiday, and after working the previous three, I was delighted to see that I had the day off, Luckily, so did my friend Jen, and she responded to my question “want to go on an adventure?” with “Yes, and I can probably get us a car.”
 
So on Monday morning we took the Luas to Sandyford and were picked up by Jen’s boyfriend and drove northwest to County Meath. Dave had suggested Trim Castle, which neither Jen nor I had heard of, and who doesn’t love a good castle, so less than an hour later we were parking on Trim’s main street and walking up towards the sprawling castle grounds.
 
This was one of those places where it was so worth it to take the tour. We had time to kill before it began (only €2 for students!) and all we could manage was strolling around saying things like “Can you believe they could build this without a crane?”
 
The view from the top of the keep.
The view from the top of the keep.
The guide had a great midlands accent and told us endless neat facts and pointed out so many things that you just wouldn’t see or think anything of on your own. (Norman castles’ staircases spiral to the right so that the ascending attacker, who would be right-handed because lefties weren’t allowed in the army at the time, would be unable to wield his weapon as he rounded the corner, and the right-handed defender would be favored with an open shot. These kids weren't messing around.)
 
From up on the roof of the keep we were told we could see both Newgrange and the Hill of Tara, but as the guide’s directions were “Over by that far group of trees,” I’m sad to say I didn’t see them at all.
 
But after lunch we FIXED that and decided to make it a double day trip, and took ourselves over to the Hill of Tara. Once again, the benefits of a tiny country are manifold.
On the Hill of Tara.
On the Hill of Tara.
Alas, at Tara there was no guide, and just one set of informational panels. I found it difficult to appreciate the concentric mounds that are ancient burial sites from the ground; I’ve seen aerial shots of the place and it is much more striking from above. We did, however, enjoy magnificent panoramic views for miles and miles, and peeked our heads into the cutest church I’ve ever seen.
 

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