A History of the Parish
TIRECHAN, a writer of the seventh century, tells us that when St Patrick went to Tara, the seat of royal power in 432, his companion and nephew, Loman, came by way of the Boyne to Trim. There he remained until Patrick came to him and built a church with him twenty two years before the foundation of the church at Armagh. That church was the forerunner of the Abbey of St Mary. The ancient texts tell us that the local Gaelic chieftain presented Loman with his own house on the hill where Trim Castle now stands. Recent excavations on the site corroborate these texts and, in the course of the excavations, the site of this early church was uncovered.
In the medieval period, the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul in Trim was one of the largest and most sophisticated medieval cathedrals in Ireland. The cathedral, priory and monastic centre were once part of a busy medieval market centre that included the Hospital Priory of St John the Baptist, a parish church, and a mill. The church became the cathedral for the Diocese of Meath after its founder, Simon de Rochfort, Bishop of Meath, petitioned the Pope to transfer his cathedral from Clonard. Sadly, it was closed at the time the dissolution of the monasteries by Henry VIII in the late 1530s.
The present parish church in Trim, dedicated in honour of St Patrick, commenced in 1891 and was consecrated in 1902. It was designed by William Hague in French Gothic style. William Hague was a well known Irish ecclesiastical architect active throughout the late nineteenth century. Among his most prominent works are the Archbishop’s Palace, Dublin as well as the interior and spire of St Patrick’s College, Maynooth.
The high altar and reredos were done by Pearse and Sons. The sanctuary mosaics are the work of Messrs Oppenheimer of Manchester, the pattern taken from the Book of Kells. The St Patrick window and the window of Our Lady of Trim (both of amazing detail and colour) are by Mayer of Munich, who were stained glass artists to the Holy See and were responsible for stained glass in at least ten of Ireland’s Cathedrals.