The Library of the Trinity College in Dublin

One of the ‘must see’ places in Dublin/Ireland is the Trinity College. The main reason for me was the Book of Kells. It is an illuminated manuscript gospel book in Latin and one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen. It is one of the finest and maybe also most famous manuscripts of the Middle Ages and was found at Kells, a little town in County Meath. It is displayed in the Trinity College in Dublin and wonderfully explained step by step, from the beginning of the folios (calf vellum) to the paintings and to the bookbinding.

But it’s not about this beautiful art work I want to talk. It’s not allowed to take photos and so I won’t talk about it.

I want to talk about the equally beautiful library above the rooms with the Book of Kells.

I finally had a look into the library, in another time I was in the college it was closed. It is a beautiful, impressive library with thousand of ancient books. And unfortunately too many people to visit it in the same moment. But nevertheless I am glad to have been there.

The College of the Holy and Undivided Trinity of Queen Elizabeth – like it is the full and official name – is situated near to Grafton Street in the center of Dublin. The research university was founded in 1592, Ireland’s oldest university.

Now in the heart of the city once it was outside the city walls and additionally in the outlawed Catholic Augustinian Priory of All Hallows. Until 1873 it was reserved only to Protestants, the professorship, the scholarship and the fellowship. Catholics could go to the college only with a permission from the church until 1970 and the first women were allowed to go only in 1904.

It is still one of the finest and most prestigious colleges in Ireland.

The library with its 6.2 million printed volumes and manuscripts is the largest library in Ireland and has a legal deposit library status which means that it is entitled to receive a copy of all works published in the Republic of Ireland and the United Kingdom.

To get into the library you need to go up a huge staircase. The 65 m/213 ft long chamber, called also Long Room, was built between 1712 and 1732. 200.000 of the oldest books of the library are on the shelves here. They look so inspiring, for a book-lover like heaven. I just wanted to take a book out and open it, pretending to know how to read Latin AND ancient lettering.

It was once only one floor. In 1860 they raised the roof due to have an upper gallery to host more and more books.

Interesting are the many marble busts. Pieter Scheemaeckers, a Flemish Sculptor of the 17th century, is the artists of 14 of them. Writers, philosophers and personalities who have a meaning to the college are to see.

Very interesting is the copy of the Proclamation of the Irish Republic which was read by Pearse at the General Post Office on 14th April 1916.

A beautiful artwork is the oak and willow harp of Brian Boru from the 15th century.

I enjoyed every single moment in the library and my imagination was flying in the past when privileged people only could come here and consult the books for their studies. Real books are the treasure of mankind!

Dublin, Co. Leinster/Ireland:

For further information:
Dublin Website
Website of the Trinity College in Dublin

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