Since 1592 Trinity College has stood in various forms at its current site, the longest established university in Ireland and an unmistakable landmark in central Dublin. Generations of students have walked its cobbled quadrangles, lived in its halls and studied (and partied!) in the surrounding buildings. Almost nobody visits Dublin without a visit to Trinity, and nor should you, but many in their rush to the main attraction – the Book of Kells – fail to take in the special atmosphere behind those college walls.
Once you walk through the entrance gates, the bustle outside seems to recede and a walk though the grounds to enjoy the peace is well worthwhile. The Campanile or bell tower, built in 1853, still tolls out the hours and if you notice students carefully walking around rather than beneath the tower it may be due to the superstition that any student who passes beneath when the bells toll will fail their exams!
There are several museums open to the public and probably most interesting are the modern Science Museum with a rotating calender of always interesting events and the Geology museum, which uses some of its 80,000 plus artifacts to tell the story of Life on Earth.
On a Summer’s day, some time spent watching a cricket game while picnicking on the grass in College Park is a welcome respite from the city.
The Book of Kells & the Old Library
You’ll easily spot the Old Library, where the books of Kells is found, by the long lines outside waiting for entry – but there are ways to avoid the queues and we will ensure our guests don’t have to wait too long. The main chamber of the Old Library is the Long Room, an imposing space almost 65 metres in length, its soaring shelves filled with 200,000 of the Library’s oldest books.
The books here are only a tiny part of the Trinity Library collection – the college has, since 1801, had right to claim a free copy of every book published in Britain and Ireland, so it truly covers every imaginable genre and subject.
There are always special exhibitions on some aspect of the library’s fascinating collection but the main event is always the Book of Kells. Each day a new page is turned, so what you see will depend on the day you visit. However even the plainer pages – and the image above would be of a ‘plainer’ page – are magnificently decorated and more remarkable close up that you expect.