Trim Castle

Movie Braveheart Mel Gibson (1995)
An epic and romantic fresco that marked the 1990s, Braveheart focuses on the trajectory of one of Scotland's greatest heroes. However, it is in Ireland that Mel Gibson mainly shot. Especially around and inside the castle of Trim, not far from Dublin.
The castle of Trim
Trim Castle - Credit: Andrew Parnell on flickr

“They may take our lives, but they will never take away our freedom.”

William Wallace (Mel Gibson)

The story of Braveheart begins in the early 1990s. Randall Wallace, a television writer, has just signed a script based on the writings of Blind Harry, a poet who was interested in the almost legendary figure of William Wallace in his time. The project is then in the hands of MGM. When Mel Gibson had the opportunity to read it, he planned to ask Brad Pitt to play the lead role, but eventually difficulties encouraged him to consider playing the character of William Wallace himself. He decided to involve Icon Productions, his company, but was unable to raise enough money to start shooting. Warner then made him an offer: if he agreed to make a new part of Lethal Weapon, the director would have the money necessary to realize his project. At the time reluctant to make such a compromise, the actor finds an arrangement with Paramount Pictures and 20th Century Fox. In the meantime, he is also forced to refuse the lead role in Luc Besson’s Fifth Element.

Since the film focuses on the struggles of William Wallace, a very important figure in Scottish history, Mel Gibson began shooting in Scotland. He quickly moved production to Ireland. Not only is there more aid, but the government is offering to make part of its army available to meet its needs for extras. It can then reduce its costs and count on 1,600 men during the ambitious reenactments of the battles. Trim Castle is at the center of several important sequences. Mel Gibson transforms the monument into the city of York. He also used it to create the London square. The trick is to use only parts of this vast architectural ensemble or to skilfully disguise it to give it a new identity on screen. In order to optimize his budget a little more, the director does not fail to explore the surroundings. This is how he turns to the abbey of Bective, not far from the fortress. Also in the Dublin area, Dunsoghly Castle, the only castle in Ireland to have retained its original medieval roof, is featured on the screen.

With the full support of the Irish government and satisfied with authentic filming locations such as Trim Castle, Mel Gibson completed Braveheart, not without a few bruises but in good conditions. When the film was released in theaters, it was a great success, even though historians have pointed out some important inconsistencies. The director and his screenwriter have never hidden their desire to propose, above all, a romantic epic, even if it means betraying the great story.

Very loosely based on the life of William Wallace, the hero of Scottish independence, Braveheart is more particularly based on a poem by Harry the Blind, a 15th century author. Controversial because of its violence, the film nevertheless won five Oscars.


Mel Gibson used 1600 extras to shoot some of the battle scenes.

Scène au château de Trim dans Braveheart
Scene at Trim Castle in Braveheart – Credit: 20th Century Fox and Paramount Pictures
Scène au château de Trim dans Braveheart
Scene at Trim Castle in Braveheart – Credit: 20th Century Fox and Paramount Pictures
Scène au château de Trim dans Braveheart
Scene at Trim Castle in Braveheart – Credit: 20th Century Fox and Paramount Pictures

Trim Castle

Trim Castle is the largest in all of Ireland at 30,000 m2. The fortress tells part of the history of the country, including the clan wars.

It is in the XIIe century that the construction of the castle of Trim, in the county of Meath, begins. The location is chosen to allow access from the sea, via the river. Located to defend the region, it was exploited and fortified by the British to counter attacks by the Gaels. Later, especially after the Cromwellian conquest of Ireland, the castle passed from hand to hand before being abandoned. Renowned for its complex Norman-style architecture, this building, now in ruins, is open to the public from Easter to Halloween.

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By Gilles Rolland

Thursday, January 27, 2022

Passionné de cinéma, de rock and roll, de séries TV et de littérature. Rédacteur de presse et auteur des livres Le Heavy Metal au cinéma, Paroles de fans Guns N' Roses, Paroles de fans Rammstein et Welcome to my Jungle : 100 albums rock et autres anecdotes dépareillées. Adore également voyager à la recherche des lieux les plus emblématiques de la pop culture.

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