Fun & Weird

Adventures in Dublin: A Tour of Trinity College Doorways and the Book of Kells

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When I arrived at the Front Gate for my tour of Trinity College, the pavements were drying and the sun was still out.

Trinity College Tour Start Front Gate

And we made it almost all the way through our student guide’s first stop on the steps of the Chapel in Parliament Square before it started raining.

Trinity College Tour Chapel Steps

The next stop was in the courtyard, with no cover, where we admired the giant Oregon Oak trees planted to absorb water from the marshy ground and make it possible to enclose the bottom floor of the Old Library, which used to flood.

Trinity College Tour Oregon Oaks Library Square

And briefly admired the Campanile bell tower, but only briefly since it directly in the path of the wind and rain. (Picture taken later in the day)

Trinity College Tour Campanile bell tower

Our guide thoughtfully turned a few other exposed stops into running commentary as we passed by, so our next, and final stop wound up being in the entrance of the Berkeley library. Around the corner to our right was the beautifully constructed museum building, but we were all so cold and wet that other than popping our heads out once to look, we just listened to the significance of the sculpture and the detail of the building.

Trinity College Tour from Berkeley Library Entrance

Trinity College Tour Museum Building

The last part of the tour was what I had been waiting for. The Book of Kells! It has amazing historical as well as religious significance and I was excited to see the highly illustrated Bible that had last more than 12 centuries.

Trinity College Tour Book of Kells

Since only a few pages of the book are visible at a time (whatever pages the two volumes have been opened to in the display case), the majority of the exhibit is interesting background on what went into the illustrations and little artistic quirks. Unfortunately, but understandably, no pictures allowed.

From there you ascend to the Old Library, which is impressive. The thing that really captivated me is that in each section the books are arranged by size. “a” being the tallest and going up to “” which are tiny. I never did figure out how anyone would find what book they were looking for!

Trinity College Tour Old Library Long Room

Trinity College Tour Old Library Shelving

Trinity College Tour Old Library little books

 

Should you take the full tour?

I thought the tours, guided by students, were really well done, and at 35 minutes, a great length. You cover the four major historic squares of the College, and a brief overview of the history of the College, as well as an introduction to the Book of Kells. Since I enjoy getting a little context and hearing a local’s take on the location I’m visiting, I thought it was well worth the €10 which includes admission to the Book of Kells.

If you’re short on time, or just prefer to just walk around and admire (or not) architecture, then it’s probably best to just skip straight to the Book of Kells.

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1 Comment

  1. paul

    March 8, 2014 at 3:34 pm

    Always take the full tour. We took the one at Oxford and it was simply unbelievable and the day there would NOT have been the same had we not learned so much about the school.

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