Trim Castle opening for winter season
Trim Castle will be open during weekdays during the winter for the first time since the castle opened in 2000.
“Trim Castle is the central attraction which brings people to the town” said Noel French, President of Trim Chamber of Commerce. “It has been frustrating for winter visitors who arrive during the week to find the castle gates locked.” “The OPW and their guides provide a great service during the summer months and during Saturday and Sunday in the off peak season but we always felt that we would like to have the castle open all year round.”
Earlier this year Minister Brian Hayes TD, with responsibility for the OPW, announced an initiative to allow community groups to become involved on a voluntary basis to increase opening times of various heritage attractions. “As the lead agency with the responsibility in preserving and presenting our heritage, OPW needs the help of local community and heritage groups.” said the Minister. Trim applied and was selected as one of the pioneer groups.
The OPW tours finished at the end of October for weekdays and volunteer guides are now providing one tour a day from Monday to Friday.
Noel French said a group had come together from Trim Chamber of Commerce, Trim Tidy Towns and the Meath Heritage Centre to provide the tours during the winter months. “We are starting small by having just one tour a day at 11.00 a.m. and we will see how it progresses from there.” “We do have a number of people interested in becoming guides but we do need help co-ordinating the training of guides, their day to day supervision and the tours.” said Noel.
“We are very grateful to the Minister, OPW staff, Trim Visitor Centre and Trim Town Council for their support and encouragement.” said Mr. French who paid tribute to the work of Brian Heffernan on the project.
Jillian O’Brien of Trim Castle Hotel welcomed the weekday opening of Trim Castle during the off peak season saying that the castle attracted visitors to the town who then contributed to the local economy. “For the hospitality sector in Trim the opening of the castle all year round is a major step forward.”
Plans for the Gathering
The Gathering – Meath Roots – 13th – 16th June 2013
Trim, Co. Meath, Ireland.
Patrons: Minister Leo Varadkar T.D., Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport,
Mr. Ray Butler T.D., Cllr Niamh McGowan.
Thank you for your reply to our suggestion for a conference on Meath Roots.
Our programme is set out below.
We provide information on the various accommodation options which you must book directly with the accommodation provider. There are various options depending on quality and cost.
We do not include meals in the conference costs and some prices for Trim Castle Hotel, the conference venue, are supplied below but other options are available in the town of Trim.
Having listened to what people were interested in we have decided to do away with the options. Option 1 which was to give a background on genealogical records has now been included in the programme itself. There will be time for participants to have assistance from Meath Heritage Centre staff before and during their visit.
The programme is now:
Thursday 13th June 2012
9.00 – 10.30 Talk: The history of County Meath
11.00- 12.30 Talk: Social history of the 19th century including the Great Famine with particular emphasis on County Meath
1.30 Depart on coach tour visiting Tara, Kells, Oldcastle, Athboy.
Short stops in each place. Return to Trim about 6.30
8.30-10.00 Irish Music and Dance – local performers from Comhaltas and the Carney School of Dance
Friday 14th June 2012
9.00 – 10.30 The Myths and Legends of Ireland with a particular emphasis on myths relating to Meath
11.00-12.30 Irish Genealogy – records, sources, repositories, local and national
1.30 Depart on coach tour visiting Navan, Slane, Newgrange and Bru na Boinne, Battle of the Boyne site, Drogheda and Duleek.
Visit to Newgrange monument with short stops at some of the other sites. Return to Trim about 6.30
8.30-10.00 An evening of drama, song and Irish literature
Saturday 15th June 2012
Free day with the opportunity to explore the town of Trim or visit the parish of your ancestor. Help and assistance will be available to facilitate these visits.
7.00 p.m. Special conference dinner with a grant of honourary citizenship of the county being presented to those with Meath roots. The presentations will be made by the Cathoirleach of the local council (in other words the Mayor of Meath) but this has to be confirmed.
We are hopeful that a major new publication on the history of Meath will be launched on Saturday 15th June but this is as yet unconfirmed. If this happens then there will be a major conference of historical experts on the Saturday in Trim Castle Hotel. We are hopeful that this will take place but it is unlikely to be confirmed before early next year. We will keep you informed of any news.
Sunday 16th June 2012
10.00 Morning Walking Tour of Trim Town
1.00 Scurlogtown Olympiad Festival. Travel back in time to the late 1800s and early 1900s. The Traditional Haymaking festival in the Heritage Town of Trim features Horse and Vintage tractor mowers; Animal Parade, Donkey Derby; Arts and Crafts; Wren Boys and much much more.
A bookstand will be available at seminar events.
We are currently in negotiation with county and local historical societies requesting them to organise events in the period 17th – 23rd June. As these become available we will let you know.
On our tours around the county we will be pointing out many of the smaller parishes as well as stopping at major towns so that people can get a feel and a little orientation for a return visit on Saturday. We can arrange local transportation on Saturday at your own cost.
COSTS AND PAYMENT
The cost of the programme only is €310 per person. The conference dinner is extra at €50 per person.
As we do not have credit card or internet sales facility payment by cheque or money order please to Noel French, Meath Heritage Centre, Castle Street, Trim, Co. Meath. Please make payment payable to Meath Heritage Centre. Personal cheque for the equivalent amount in your currency is acceptable. Once your payment is received then a receipt will issue immediately.
Trim Castle Hotel http://www.trimcastlehotel.com have quoted €265 per person sharing based on a double/twin occupancy for accommodation from Wednesday to Sunday inclusive. Please quote Meath Roots when booking. This is the hotel at which the seminars and entertainment will take place.
Meals at Trim Castle Hotel
Bailey Bar Carvery Lunch – €15.50 pp
Lunch in Barrista Café – from approximately €5-€9.95
Set Dinner in Bailey Bar – €19.95 p.p.
Dinner in Jules Restaurant – €25 pp
Another hotel in town is the Castle Arch Hotel. http://www.castlearchhotel.com/
The other major hotel in Trim but slightly outside the town is the Knightsbrook Hotel – Accommodation rate of €95.00 single, €130.00 double/Twin per night bed & Breakfast.
There is also a range of guesthouses, bed and breakfasts and self catering accommodation available.
For full accommodation details and other visitor information in relation to Meath check out: http://www.meath.ie/Tourism/
Plans Underway for Boyne Valley Gatherings
Over 150 people attended a Gathering meeting held in on Thursday 19th of July at the Conynham Arms Hotel to generate ideas and plans to bring Gatherings to the Boyne Valley in 2013. The Gathering, an initiative launched by Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Leo Varadkar TD, aims to be the biggest tourism event held in Ireland , bringing in 325,000 new tourists to Ireland in 2013.
The Gathering meeting was organised by the County Gathering Coordinator, Michele Whelan. A number of ‘Gatherings’ in Boyne Valley in 2013 were proposed at the meeting and an online resource is now available for those ideas to be shared www.thegatheringireland.com. The website also contains tools and supports for people to plan their Gatherings.
Some of the ideas generated at the meeting include:
- Return of the High Kings; a gathering of people from across the world with names assosciated with the High Kings
- The Slane Mill Gatherings, a reunion of former employees, some now scattered across the world, from the textile mill in Slane.
Speaking at the meeting, Cllr Niamh McGowan, Cathaoirleach of Meath County Council said,
“The objective of the Gathering 2013 is to reach out to our diaspora and all our connections abroad- family, friends, business or education and give them a compelling reason to return home to the Boyne Valley in 2013. The Gathering 2013 calls on everyone to join in, by identifying overseas contacts and inviting them back for an unprecedented yearlong celebration. In this way, we can all play our part and have a positive impact on Irelands economic recovery”.
Joan Martin , Director of Services, Louth County Council said, “There were some really great ideas generated at the meeting that can bring people to the Boyne Valley in 2013. What needs to happen next is that people activate these ideas; make them real, bring their Gatherings to life. “
For further information visit www.thegatheringireland.com
There was a large attendance at the open meeting in relation to the proposed folkpark for Trim. Over eighty people attended the meeting in Trim Castle Hotel last Friday night. Many new and interesting ideas were put forward by the attendance. Chairperson of the steering committee Michael Kenny opened the meeting which was also addressed by Pat Farrelly of Scurlogstown Olympiad. The organisers would like to thank all who attended, Trim Castle Hotel and Trim Chamber of Commerce for facilitating the meeting.
Scurlogstown Olympiad and a number of other groups gathered at the proposed site of the folkpark in Trim last Saturday to clean up the site. A large amount of stones were picked and will be used by Trim Tidy Towns to construct raised flower beds on the approach roads to the town. Quite a quantity of litter was also removed from the site. Other groups involved in the clean up were Trim Comhaltas and Trim Chamber of Commerce.
Included in the photo are : John Gerard Bradley, Paddy Mahon, Willie Fay, Anne Kelly, Louise, Tadhg and Peadar Cotter, Pat Farrelly, Brian Heffernan, Brian Loughrey, Noel Rochford, Paul Kerr, Noel Castles and Noel French. Others who worked on the day but not included in the photo are : Paddy Pryle, Niamh Farrelly, Joanna and Edward Monaghan.
Folk Park for Trim
Arts, Heritage and Gaeltacht Minister Jimmy Deenihan visited the proposed site of the new folk park for Trim last week. Seamus O Droma of the steering group outlined the economic benefits of the development to the minister.
The park will provide up to eight full-time positions when completed along with larger number of positions during the construction phase. At present the project is being spearheaded by Scurlogstown Olympiad together with representatives of Trim Chamber of Commerce, Trim Tidy Towns, Trim Comhaltas and other groups. Mr. O Droma said that the project was in the very early stages of development and would be very open to listening to interested groups or individuals. A number of public meetings will be held shortly to hear what the people of Trim and the surrounding area would like to have in a folk park and what the name will be given to the new project. Everybody is invited to become involved and a proper structure will be established in the near future. Members of the organising group have met with Meath County Council and Trim Town Council and were very pleased with the response of the councillors and officials. The steering group would like to take this opportunity to thank Tom Dowling, County Manager and all public representatives including Ray Butler T.D., Damien English T.D., Trim area and town councillors for investing their time into the project.
A fundraising music session has been arranged for the Bounty Bar on Tuesday 13th March with Trim Comhaltas providing the music.
Feile Americana welcomed. American football Festival in trim at end of August.
Tourism Plan Goes on Display
There are more than two hundred ideas for the promotion of tourism in Trim in a new draft plan prepared by Trim Chamber of Commerce. The plan is titled “Trim and Upper Boyne District Tourism, Discussion and Action Plan, 2012-2017” and sub-titled “Tourism is everybody’s business”
Currently the plan is on display in Trim Visitor Centre, Trim Town Council Offices, Trim Library and Meath County Council Offices, Railway Street, Navan. Submissions and observations may be made to its compiler Noel French at Trim Chamber of Commerce, Trim, Co. Meath or firstname.lastname@example.org or (086) 8053293 before 30 March 2012.
The plan is divided up into sections which deal with such topics as: accommodation, visitor attractions, activities and special interests, food, festivals and entertainment, transport, visitor services, infra-structure and marketing.
Trim is a town with a strong historical and cultural significance. Dominated by Trim Castle, the town featured in the movie Braveheart. The largest Norman castle in Europe, it is open to visitors who can access the square keep and grounds by guided tour. Trim has more medieval remains than any other town in Ireland and all within walking distance of each other. The Yellow Steeple, Sheepgate, Maudlin and Newtown complex are the major ruins in the town. The town has also had a distinguished history of its tidiness, winning the Tidy Town’s competition on three occasions. In recent years the town has been at the top of the IBAL league, securing top spot in January 2012. The town has a number of high profile festivals such as the Balloon Festival, Swift Festival and the Scurlogstown Olympiad. The town has connections to a number of famous personalities including Jonathan Swift and the Duke of Wellington.
The plan seeks to identify and outline a co-ordinated direction and strategy for the development of tourism in Trim and upper Boyne area.
This plan is being prepared to ensure that the tourism potential of Trim is maximised. This plan is focused on a bottom up approach and what Trim can do for itself.
Trim is lacking in a caravan park. There is no caravan and camping park in the whole of County Meath. Encouragement should be given to one touring caravan and camping park with an emphasis on short stays utilising simple facilities. Close proximity to the town would be an advantage.
The castle remains the major visitor attraction and many visitors to the castle do not have time to explore the town. The opening of the castle all year round is an aspiration of the plan. This might be achieved by staffing during the off season by a community volunteers. The plan suggests examining the possibility of having the castle open late one or two evenings in the week during the summer months. This might attract visitors to the town later in the day and result in more bed-nights. The entrance to the castle needs to be highlighted. Many visitors cannot easily find the entrance.
The re-development of the Visitor Centre is an important project included in the plan as is the development of additional attractions including a folk park and centre dedicated to the literary tradition of the town and area.
The Black Friary dig is one of the major new activities in the town and a community group has been established to support the project. A looped walk to include the Porchfields could be developed. A sculpture trail around the town would encourage visitors to explore off the current visitor route.
Trim has a variety of opportunities for eating out for both lunches and evenings. There is strong community support for festivals, sporting and recreational activities in the area. The objective would be to build on and develop existing high profile events synonymous with Trim.
Transport between major centres has improved but the focus on improving access to smaller centres is now a priority. Bicycle hire, walking trails and public transport could be improved.
With regard to visitor information panels should be provided on the ramp into the castle on Trim’s other attractions. Signage and parking also need to be improved in some areas.
The plan discusses the branding of Trim. Trim has to differentiate itself in the market place through a branding programme. Opportunities for co-operative branding need to be investigated.
Launch of Trim Town of Festival’s Brochure 2012 – January 20th
June 2011 – Noel interviewed by Cian McCormack on Morning Ireland about Trim’s local economy and festivals. (June 23rd)
31 May 2011
Launch of Trim Town of Festival’s Brochure 30 May 2011