Uncovering Medieval Trim

In Uncovering Medieval Trim our aim is to afford you an authentic and in-depth view into the life of an archaeologist and over a thousand years of history in the town of Trim, County Meath, Ireland.  The following is a detailed outline of the day (times subject to change):

Costs: 1 person €100; 2 people €190; additional people €90 per person

Orientation – 10am

The day will start with a short orientation talk about the history of the medieval town of Trim and its setting in the Boyne Valley, the history of this 13th century Dominican friary at Blackfriary, and the on-going community archaeology project.

Site walkabout – 10.40am

After the orientation talk you will be guided on a short walking tour of the site to give you an overview of the work being undertaken at the site.

Comfort break

There will be a short comfort break on site.


After break, you will undertake a series of activities designed to demonstrate in an informative hands-on engaging manner what life would have been like in medieval times in Trim, and how archaeologists uncover and interpret the past.

Activity 1: Up close with the diggers (duration 30 mins)

You will be brought to one of the active cuttings currently under investigation, and talked through the process of excavation by the resident cutting supervisor.  The activity will be hands on, designed to give the visitor a genuine experience of what life is like for a field archaeologist on an excavation.

Activity 2: Stories in the stones (duration 30 mins)

One of the most fascinating aspects of the Blackfriary site is the architectural features of the friary.  Although the site was more or less destroyed to foundation level in the 18th century, a remarkable amount of material survives, such that it is possible to trace the outlines and layout of the buildings built here 750 years ago.  Some truly remarkable architectural features remain, including beautifully crafted imported marble.  You will be shown the process of discover from excavation to interpretation.

Activity 3: The lives of the medieval people of Trim as told through their burials (duration 30 mins)

The excavations at the Blackfriary have uncovered a large number of human remains, which have had to be excavated to ensure that they were safely preserved.  These excavations have given us a remarkable insight into the lives and deaths of the people of Trim.  You will be given an in depth presentation by one of the resident osteoarchaeologists (bone specialists) on the burials uncovered to date, from discovery to excavation to conservation and interpretation.

Lunch – 1.30pm

A one hour break will be given for lunch (under your own arrangements)

Tour of the Medieval Town of Trim (duration 1 hour 30 mins)

After lunch you will be brought on a guided tour of the wonderful town of Trim.  The town has remarkably retained its original streetscape as laid out in medieval times, and boasts more upstanding medieval buildings and structures than any other town in Ireland.  The town also has a truly remarkable and colourful history, and was home to such famous people as Dean Jonathon Swift (author of Gullivers Travels, who lived in Laracor, just outside the town) and the Duke of Wellington (who defected Napoleon in the Battle of Waterloo).

Tour of the Trim Castle (duration 1 hour)

Trim Castle is the largest and best preserved Anglo-Norman castle in Ireland, erected by Hugh de Lacy in 1174. You will enjoy a guided visit inside of this twenty-sided castle, and view its defensive towers and residential areas, and learn more about life under Anglo-Norman rule in Ireland in the 12th and 13th centuries.

End of day – 4.30pm

At the end of the day you can participate in a short questions and answers session, to hopefully answer any remaining information gaps that you may have.

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