Trinity College/Book of Kels

Today we went Trinity College in Dublin, which is also home to the Book of Kells. Founded by charter of Queen Elizabeth of 1592, the campus’s earliest surviving building is the Old Library, which was built between 1712 and 1732 to the design of Thomas Burgh.

In 1992, part of the Old Library was reconstructed internally to form an expanded Library Shop (where some of us purchased souvenirs), a new exhibition area, and a Treasury for the display of Irish medieval gospel manuscripts, including the Book of Kells.

The Book of Kells is an early Irish interpretation of the four gospels, believed to have been produced by monks in the early 9th century. The Book, brought to Dublin around 1653 for security, contains lavishly decorated Latin copy. It was finally brought to Trinity College in 1661 through then-bishop of Meath, Henry Jones.

Also within the main chamber of the Old Library is the Long Room. Standing nearly 65 meters in length, the Long Room has around 200,000 of the Library’s oldest books and also served as a film location for a Harry Potter movie!

Marble busts of historical figures line the two long walls of the Long Room, which also displays several artifacts including the oldest surviving Irish harp, an emblem of early, bardic society, believed to date back to the fifteenth century. The harp is an attribution to Brian Boru, high king of Ireland (died in 1014), and also serves as an Irish symbol, appearing on currency.

Currently, the Trinity College Library houses the largest collection of printed books and manuscripts in Ireland. With a stock of nearly three million volumes, the library has held the right to claim a free copy of all British and Irish publications under the relevant copyright acts.

During our visit, we walked around the campus, viewing the historical architecture, and soaking up the “college life” of Dublin! {Side note: On our way into the campus, we walked through a tunnel and more-or-less sandwiched a pigeon, essentially causing it to fly into an innocent bystander’s crotch- making for an awkward and hilarious moment!}

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