Years ago, I saw a photo of this amazing library. I didn’t know where it was, but I knew I wanted to go. It was one of those un-captioned Pinterest pins. When I began my search for our trip to Ireland, I came across Trinity College in Dublin, complete with the library I had seen all that time ago. It was the library of my dreams.
Trinity College is in the heart of Dublin. I envy the people who get to call the campus home. It’s an absolutely stunning property, with an interesting history. It has been a place of learning for many great minds, like Oscar Wilde (one of my favourite writers). Now, the university is Ireland’s top ranked. It’s also one of the top ranked sights for visitors to the country.
Around Trinity College
I think a lot of visitors head straight for the Book of Kells exhibit and completely bypass a lot of what’s outdoors. You can actually join a tour through the campus (I’ve linked it here), but wandering on your own can be just as rewarding.
My companions and I visited in mid-May, and the greenery and flowers were absolutely spectacular all across Ireland. We were pretty lucky too, as we didn’t have a whole lot of rain.
This is what I love most about Europe: there are little pockets of fairytales everywhere you go. Even in a college campus parking lot, you can find magic.
If flowers and trees aren’t your thing, there are plenty of historic buildings and monuments throughout the grounds. Here’s where that tour might come in handy. I’ve realized over the years that I like to do research on my own beforehand because I don’t usually have time when traveling to join in on tour learning. Thanks to the internet, I found out that this statue is of William Edward Hartpole Lecky:
And now you know that too.
The Book of Kells Exhibition
The crown jewel of Trinity College is definitely the Book of Kells Exhibition and the Old Library. It’s worth every penny, and I’d urge you to book it in advance. (Get your tickets here). The Book of Kells is a 9th century illuminated (highly decorated) manuscript that shares parts of the Bible’s four Gospels in Latin. Believed to originate on the Isle of Iona**, Scotland, it’s one of the best and most famous examples of medieval works. It was named the Book of Kells after it was brought to an Irish monastery called Kells by Vikings, and was later to Trinity College for preservation. While you can’t actually take any photos in the exhibit, non-flash photography is allowed in the Long Room.
** On this trip, I had the amazing opportunity to check out the Isle of Iona, the birthplace of Christianity in Scotland and a true gem of the Inner Hebrides. Read more about my journey there, here.
The Long Room
The Long Room in the Old Library holds about 200,000 of the college’s oldest books, including some very rare copies.
The second story, complete with barrel ceiling, wasn’t added until the late 1800s (to provide more room for books of course), and really makes the library the impressive and alluring place it is today.
If you’re wanting to visit the Library, you must purchase tickets to the Book of Kells exhibit. I suggest heading there first thing in the morning, as it can become very busy. Like I mentioned earlier, we visited mid-May and I can’t imagine what the summer crowds must be like.
Overall, Trinity College is one of the most beautiful places I have visited. You could honestly spend a day there, wandering around the grounds and diving into Dublin history, not to mention all the #wanderlust photo opportunities.
What was the most amazing library you ever visited? Have you been to Trinity College?