Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Trinity College, The Book of Kells and The Long Room

Kerry Hammond is back today continuing our series on mysterious and bookish places in Ireland. Comment below to be entered to win the coaster set below, just say something about your favorite library. 

On my recent trip to Dublin, I wandered around the city in the footsteps of James Joyce, which included a gorgonzola sandwich and a glass of burgundy for lunch at Davey Byrne’s pub. But no trip to the Republic of Ireland’s capital city is complete without a visit to Trinity College to view the Book of Kells and The Long Room, the college’s famous library.

Our guided tour was led by a knowledgeable college student and ended at the library. We stood in awe of the high ceilings and two story shelves that gave the impression that the quantity of books was never-ending. The main room of the library, shown here, is over 200 feet long and there are more than 200,000 of the library’s oldest books on the shelves. The room was originally built in 1712 and 1732, and was only one story. In 1860 the ceiling was raised and the upper floor was added. Marble busts representing philosophers and writers line the rows of books. 

The Book of Kells display at the library is a permanent exhibit and definitely worth the admission fee. It is a gospel book that is believed to have been in existence since 800 AD. The text is so perfectly written that it’s hard to believe it was done by hand so long ago. The illustrations are beautifully drawn in a variety of colors and intricate designs. There is one book open for view under a glass case and everyone crowded around to get a look. The exhibit also displays many reprinted pages that are enlarged so that you can see the detail.   

We’re having another Mystery Playground contest today. The prize is a set of 4 coasters showing Doors of Dublin. All you have to do is post a comment here and tell us about your favorite library, whether you’ve visited it or just seen it in photos. The contest ends one week from today.


  1. I moved last year and I must say that the Rampart Library in Woodland Park, CO is really great considering the size of the city, 7000 in population! That being said, I would LOVE to go to this museum in Ireland.

  2. My favorite library would be the one available wherever I live. After getting a drivers license in a new state, next up is the library card.

  3. I can't say I have a favorite library but I have been to the library at Trinity College and it is absolutely amazing. Beautiful and awesome. Just loved being there. Thanks for the reminder of it!
    anne at rightler dot com

  4. Our winner is Anne Righter. Look for an e-mail shortly.

  5. College is a beautiful part of life... think and grow rich...
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  6. I can't say I have a favorite library but I have been to the library at Trinity College and it is absolutely amazing. Beautiful and awesome.