Our last stop of the day was the town of Trim and Trim castle. We paid for a tour with our admission and it was definitely the thing to do--this was the first castle that taught me this. Old stone walls are old stone walls. Some are prettier than others I guess, but there isn't much you can gather (or at least, isn't much I can get) from wandering around looking at this or that old building and maybe an informational sign here or there. A tour guide helps so much! What looked like a boring old squarish tower turned out to be a really interesting place thanks to the facts and figures given by our guide. We were actually able to go inside and up within Trim castle (they'd built bridges across where the walls had given way to allow visitors to ascend) and ended up on the roof, overlooking the town and river that flows alongside the castle. Our guide taught us about anti-invasion methods and the "comforts" that these important citizens enjoyed so many centuries ago, showed us the window that someone was thrown out of in Braveheart (I've never seen the movie) and amused us with a bit of "blood and guts" as he called it...stories of battles and punishments that went on there (which, when he told them, actually weren't as morbid as you might think...maybe it was just the cheery accent). I, for one, left feeling rather informed :)
One of the most interesting things about Ireland was being in the presence of things that were so OLD. Our country is just a baby compared to European ones, and our buildings are, at their very oldest, 200-some years old (but by and large, much younger). Over there, we were walking on and climbing around in things that were 5, 6, 800 years of age or more...it's a bit mind-boggling, isn't it?
EDIT: all of these places are in County Meath. Didn't know it at the time...but I looked it up.
I may switch it up with my next post and share a roll of medium format. We'll see what happens ;)