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One of the top tourist attractions in Dublin is Trinity College, the oldest and most famous educational institute in Ireland. One of the beautiful buildings houses the impressive library. The world famous ‘Book of Kells’ is one of the books on display here.
The university was founded in 1592 by Queen Elizabeth I. The main reason was to educate the Irish. The Queen thought that the population needed to be ‘civilized’. A stroll through Trinity College Library takes you into the world of such famous authors as Jonathan Swift, Bram Stoker and Samuel Beckett.
The most impressive room in the Trinity Library is the Old Library, also referred to as the Long Room. Here you will find a 65-metre-long corridor with huge bookcases packed with over 200,000 books. The entire library holds more than 4.5 million books. Since 1801, the library receives a copy of every book that is published in Great Britain and Ireland, so the collection continues to grow daily. There are also lectures, poetry readings, art exhibits and workshops. Admission to the Trinity College Library is free.
The most famous book in the library is the ‘Book of Kells’, a manuscript of 4 ornately illustrated books encrusted with gems, written by Celtic monks in the 9th century. The book contains the 4 gospels. Originally it was one book, made on an island off the Scottish coast. After an attack on the island, residents fled to Ireland with the book. In 1953, the ‘Book of Kells’ was bound in 4 parts, 2 of which are displayed at the library. The exhibit provides more information on the illustrations, conservation efforts and the history of the book. Unfortunately, you are not allowed to photograph the book.
Located on the Liffey River, the university boasts numerous other impressive buildings besides the library. The entrance to the main building (Regent House) is a long garden decorated with statues of poet Oliver Goldsmith (1728-1774) and philosopher Edmund Burke (1729-1797), who both studied here. The 30-metre-high bell tower, the Campanile, stands on Front Square. The bells only tolled on 2 occasions: meals and exams. Behind the tower stands a building with red brick that used to house students in the 18th and 19th centuries.
Trinity College also has a modern wing that accommodates the Douglas Hyde Gallery of Modern Art. Here you can watch an interesting 45-minute video on the history of Dublin. The university also has rugby and cricket fields that are both open to the public.