Ancient Trim and Tara
The historic town of Trim, one of Ireland’s most beautiful towns set in the heart of County Meath, is a good place to start your visit. Believed to have been founded by St. Patrick, it’s better-known nowadays for its buzzing streets, legendary castle and nearby ancient sites.
Start your visit at Trim Castle, Ireland’s oldest Norman castle which will look familiar to movie buffs as the backdrop to the famous battle scene in Mel Gibson’s Braveheart. Thankfully things are much more peaceful now, and you can wander around the grounds on a self-guided stroll or visit the impressive keep on a guided tour.
Bective Abbey and the Hill of Tara
On the 20-minute drive to the Hill of Tara it’s worth stopping at Bective Abbey, an impressive 12th-century abbey overlooking the Boyne where you can explore the historic church, chapter house and cloister with its gothic arches. It’s just ten minutes further to the Hill of Tara, a major ritual site, full of secrets since the Stone Age and the seat of the pagan High Kings.
Don’t miss the film at the visitor centre showcasing aerial views of the Hill of Tara’s complex circular mounds and ditches. Visit the ancient passage tomb, The Mound of Hostages, and the Stone of Destiny or Lia Fáil: said to roar when touched by the rightful King of Tara. Legend also has it that it’s the place St. Patrick asked for the High King’s permission to preach Christianity, using the shamrock to explain The Holy Trinity. So, it’s given us both our national symbol and patron saint.