Happy Days 65: Castle Ghosts

Day 9, Ireland

View from Trim Castle roof

Nice to have a leisurely morning. For longer than one moment, we were able to catch our breath. Then at 11:30 we set off for Trim Castle. Joy and Tom’s brother Matt and three of his four kids, Matthew, Blaithin and Fionon, came with us. Yesterday, Matt’s kids hosted our kids for games like basketball and badminton while Drew and I were in Paris. So I was pleasantly surprised that the kids all wanted to still have a craick (hang out) today.

On the way to Trim Castle, we stopped at Lismullin Conference Center where Joy had taught before. It was originally built in the 1920s, and added onto in 2000. It was a nice stop to get a glimpse into European decorating style – tasteful and classic. They had furniture that has belonged to families for generations, donated to the cause of bringing warmth and classiness to the interior. It made me think of my childhood in the Philippines, Saturdays reading at the British Council (Embassy) library. I know this is Ireland, but the sensibility is similar — living areas for hosting afternoon tea, cozy and expensive-looking (but apparently without breaking the bank).

Afterwards, we went on to Trim Castle. This was our second time coming, because we missed tours the first time. While waiting for our tour time, we ate dinner, then went on the tour.

You know, sometimes we kvetch about modern inconveniences. For instance, a fuse blows out on our power strip. Or the dishwasher breaks down.

Back in the 1200s, the owner of this castle, Hugh de Lacy, had graver concerns. He had 4 additional doors installed in case an attacker breached the front door. All the rooms and staircases lead to the right, in a clockwise direction, so that his Christian men (left handed people were considered evil then, so were not accepted into a Christian army) could have the upper hand on an attacker.

We had an excellent tour guide. He held an ancient key in his hand and told us that he would have to lock the front door after us once we started going up to the three floors.

“Why?” I asked.

“Do you believe in ghosts?” he said.

He brought us soon after to the first room, the chapel. In the corner, a monk had been reportedly seen by guides and some visitors.


(Upon further reflection, I don’t see what a key has to do with a ghost, but I liked getting scared anyway. I think we were locked up so other tourists don’t try to go in and crash our tour.)

I loved the tight staircases with the trip stairs and the fascinating, albeit gross details about how they would “steam” their maggot-infested clothes over the sewer vent to poison the maggots, but what I loved the most was watching Sierra’s face light up. She seemed super-excited to see all this.

To cap off our fun day, we stopped at Bective Abbey. The children played tag, scaled walls, and drove away any spirits that might have been in the premises with their laughter. Meanwhile, Joy and I sat on a rock ledge and chatted.

Matt’s family has been a blessing for my kids to get to know. A lot of their conversations revolve around comparing how things are in America and Ireland, respectively. They are close in age, physically active and playful – a perfect match for our trio.

We’ve had a lovely time in Ireland. I wish it didn’t have to draw to a close. At the same time, I’m looking forward to Joy’s, Sierra’s and my next adventure that starts tomorrow evening: Spain!

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