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Hill of Tara and Trim Castle, Ireland
When the sun shines in Ireland, take advantage of the warmth and head outdoors to explore some of the ancient sites dotting the countryside. One lovely summer day we were blessed with wonderful weather and used the opportunity to visit the Hill of Tara and Trim Castle. These two sites are about 20 minutes from each other and are located in Country Meath. Both sites are within an hour of Dublin, so they are easily doable as day trip.
Hill of Tara
The Hill of Tara is an ancient site that is traditionally known as the seat of the High Kings of Ireland. This sight is where the ancient kings earned their title. The Stone of Destiny (Lia Fail), situated on the hill, was used as the inauguration stone for the Kings of Tara.
The sacred site also is also home to ancient burial mounds and earthwork enclosures- man-made mounds. It’s also a Celtic spiritual place and when St. Patrick came to Ireland, legend has it that he visited this sacred site first. There is a statue of St. Patrick near the church. While the Hill of Tara has significant cultural meaning to the people of Ireland, it also feels special to the visitor.
The Hill of Tara is wonderful to walk around and the height of the hills offer spectacular views of the Irish countryside. Our children found roaming the area to be a great experience. They loved running up and down the hills. They felt very free! It was a wonderful family day for us.
To learn more about the site, visit the Visitor Centre located in the church. Check the weather and make sure you wear something you feel comfortable walking in. There are no footpaths, so there is the possibility it can get quite muddy, so keep that in mind. As you are up on a high hill it can get windy, so bring hoodies or jackets depending on the season. On the positive, entrance to the site is free.
Nearby to the site there is a small cafe and bookshop. However, we continued on to the nearby city of Trim to visit Trim Castle.
Trim Castle is a well-preserved Anglo-Norman Castle and military defense built in the shape of crucifix and surrounded by an impressive walls and a moat. It was built to defend the Norman interests in Ireland. The Normans, by the way, were Vikings who had settled in northern France and from there set out to other areas such as England and Ireland.
Today, you can visit the ruins of this impressive castle. The gardens are great for kids, but you’ll need a tour to view the castle keep which has lots of stairs and open height areas. However, the tours are very informative. We chose to visit the gardens only; yet, even there you’ll need to keep a strict on your kids as there are some steep areas. If you are fans of the movie Braveheart you might recognise this castle as it was used as setting.
The castle is right in the town of Trim, so take advantage of one of the cafes to enjoy lunch and a coffee. Trim is full of heritage sites such as the ruins of St. Mary’s Abbey and St. Peter and Paul Cathedral; however, if you are organised there are daytime summer camps for kids offered in Trim. They focus on archaeology and history and look like an amazing opportunity for children. Click here for the information.
Ireland has a magnetic ancient history and these two places can be enjoyed outside where kids can roam which makes them super family-friendly. Hopefully, we have inspired you to explore a bit of Ireland.
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