Saturday, May 8, 2010

Trim and Clonmacnoise with a little Galway sprinkled on top.

Today was a traveling day, but we made two very important stops: Trim Castle and Clonmacnoise.

Trim Castle:

Best fun fact about Trim Castle: Before the creators of "Braveheart" rebuilt a lot of the structures, Trim Castle was a put put golf that the locals greatly enjoyed. They weren't too excited when it became an official national monument.

Trim castle was built over a thirty-year period by Hugh de Lacy starting in 1176. The first keep that was constructed was wood. Additions were made in the 1200's and became the fortified stone structure that we see today.

Trim castle is best known because of its debut in the movie, "Braveheart." Which, oddly enough, was about Scotland's fight for freedom and not Ireland's. However, we all seemed to be fighting those damn English.

The movie brought about renovations to Trim castle making it one of the most complete Anglo-Norman castles in Ireland.

We had a wonderful time walking around the Trim castle grounds. It continued to change over thirty years because attack tactics changed. Trim castle was one of the hardest castles to attack.


St. Ciarnan began the monastic site in the mid-6th century. He died at the age of 33, but had managed to begin one of the most influential religious sites of the area.

Three of the most beautiful Irish High Crosses are on this site. The Cross of Scriptures depicts the Gospel of Christ.

This is the South Cross and is the second oldest cross on the site.

The North Cross is the oldest cross on the site having been built in the year 800. It has more abstract Celtic designs. Sadly, it's missing the top portion of the cross.

Located on the River of Shannon, Ireland's longest river and major waterway, Clonmacnoise was a city of about 3,000 people. It would have been a bit like a university town. The monastery was where people could be educated and it was a major trading post.

Unfortunately, being in such a reachable area also meant that Clonmacnoise was easily susceptible to attack. Vikings and even the Irish and Celtics attacked and plundered the site. More than 40 attacks were recorded. We're lucky to have anything to see at this point.

It is believed that anyone buried in Clonmacnoise gets automatic admittance into heaven. Only one woman will be allowed to be buried on the site in modern days. Her husband was buried there in 1955, the year burials ended at Clonmacnoise. However, she has a right to be buried next to her husband an that will be honored.

The Whispering Arch is where sinners would come to confess their sins to priests. They would whisper their sins on one side of the arch and the priest would listen on the other side. The priest would give a penance without having to embarrass anyone. Jeremy and Spencer demonstrate.


We only get to spend one night in Galway but we had delicious fish and chips and saw some fantastic street performers.

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