The Oldest Book and Longest Library in Dublin

Where to take the biggest little bookworm I know in the world? To the oldest book and longest library in Dublin. 


Even first thing in the morning, the line outside Trinity College in Dublin can be long (and drizzly), but thankfully there's a brilliantly placed coffee cart halfway down the line, where you can perk up and get your caffeine hit before you walk in.


The courtyard at Trinity is an experience in itself, with a beautiful kept lawn, buildings and small cobblestones to walk on, its entrance is memorable to say the least.


Like stepping back in time, its a hint of whats to come.

The Book of Kells

The "Turning Darkness into Light" exhibition, that takes you into the "Book of Kells" is an interesting historical journey, with large glass panels lit up with photographs and text that emerge from an otherwise dimly lit room. 


The "Book of Kells" is thought to have been created around the year 800, although dates are disputed and three artists may have elaborately decorated the pages.  These artists are likened to todays goldsmiths and the books contain the four gospels in ancient latin, written on calfskin.


When entering the room containing the Book of Kells, you can see there are two pages open on two volumes, one in each side of a glass cabinet.  The pages are quite small really, measuring just 33cm x 25.5cm, but the gold and green and red colours are so vibrant the pictures just jump out of the page at you, which is amazing for such a small item that is so incredibly old.


Even my little bookworm, who has been born into the digital age, exclaims "wow" as he approaches it!

The Long Room Library

We next walk into the magnificent "Long Room", which is the old oak historic lengthy library of the college. It is called "The Long Room" as it is 65 metres long and filled with 200,000 old leather bound books.  It provides such a long walk, I believe I can add this story to my "Scenic Walks" section of the blog.  It certainly makes for great indoor rainy day exercise!


Impressive to the eye, the smell of the leather, combined with the aged oak is magical and there are some amazing artefacts to view, my favourite being a 15th century wooden harp, an familiar emblem to anyone with an Irish upbringing, and a national symbol on Ireland's currency coins. 


The library was built between 1712 and 1732 and the stunning upper gallery was built in 1860.  Stern looking marble busts line the walkway. they are all men of note who have a connection to the college. The library itself has a masculine energy, as in the beginning only men would have used this library.

All of the old shelves are roped off and visitors can walk to entire length of the library.  There are many security staff to ensure you don't enter the roped off areas.  No amount of "high 5's" could get my little bookworm past them, he did make a few friends though!

With its lovely ancient ambience and magic bookshop-like smell its easy to see why its one of Dublin's biggest attractions, with over 500,000 visitors walking the lengthy halls every year, and definitely a "must see" if you happen to be in Dublin on a misty cool day.



If you are too far away for a visit, you can see the "Book of Kells" right here:

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