PHOTOGRAPHED 26 DECEMBER 2006
St. Mary’s Abbey in Trim, County Meath, Ireland is a former house of Augustinian canons dedicated to the Blessed Virgin. The abbey was situated on the north bank of the River Boyne, opposite Trim Castle, on land given to St. Patrick who is often credited with founding the abbey. The abbey was a prominent pilgrimage site, famous for the healing power of its statue of the Virgin Mary, until its dissolution under Henry VIII during the Reformation. Little remains of the abbey except for the Yellow Steeple, the ruin of the abbey bell tower named for the yellow colour reflected by the stonework in the setting sun, and Talbot’s Castle, an abbey building converted to a manor house.
The 40 metres (130 ft) Yellow Steeple is the most prominent remnant of the abbey even though it is a ruin. The tower is thought to have been built shortly after the 1368 fire, but there is also a suggestion that it was built under Richard, Duke of York around 1450. The tower, constructed of punched and squared limestone, served as the abbey’s bell tower. The tower still retains the remnant of a spiral staircase, which was built without a newel. The eastern wall rises seven storeys and the southern wall reaches five, but little to nothing remains of the other sides of the formerly square tower. The eastern wall retains two clasping corner buttresses. The walls are mostly plain with a few windows and other simple decoration. The most elaborate feature is the double-pointed belfry window underneath a flower-let formed by a tracery pattern. The south wall is partly built of rubble suggesting that it was an interior wall. There are signs that a tall pointed object, such as a funerary monument, was connected to the south wall. The abbey church most likely was connected to the tower from the south.
While the Yellow Steeple is often considered the only extant remain of the abbey, some evidence suggests that Talbot’s Castle, a nearby manor house, may have been the abbey’s refectory. The size, shape, and internal features indicate the “Castle” may have served as a monastic building before being converted to a private residence.
I recently found these photographs on a old hard disk that had been stored since 2007. I used a Sigma 12-24mm lens which I still have and the camera was an original Canon 5D which I sold when I switched to Sony Mirrorless. Late last year I purchased an unused Canon 5DMkIII as it was on offer at a very good price.