Europe Travel

Travel || Trinity College Library

I was excited to go to Dublin, but mostly I was excited to look around Trinity College for one reason; visiting the Old Library. As my readers may know, I am a book fanatic. I could never truly Marie Kondo my life because I believe in owning all the books. Every book. I’d seen photos that other people had taken of the the Old Library Long Room and it looked like my idea of heaven. It also looks like the Beast’s library in “Beauty and the Beast” so I got to be Belle for the morning with all the books but without all the Stockholm Syndrome. 

The Long Room is exquisite. Over 200 feet long and filled with 200,000 of the University’s oldest books, spread over two gallery levels. Access to the books and the ladders is roped off but if I ever come back as a ghost to haunt one place, I want it to be the Trinity Library Long Room. 

But when you are there, you also get to see the Book of Kells. The Book of Kells is an illustrated version of the four Gospels of the New Testament and is over 1000 years old. It’s one of the most beautiful examples of old Western calligraphy and is apparently Ireland’s “greatest national treasure”. No one has any idea how the book survived when the Vikings plundered Kells Abbey, but it did. 

In the library you can also see Johnathan Swift’s death mask, amongst other literature memorabilia. You can also find Brian Boru’s harp at the end of the Long Room. It’s the harp that is the national symbol of Ireland and is the harp on all the heraldry and on the Euro. It was allegedly owned by Brian Boru who was High King of Ireland in the early 1000s but that’s most likely just a legend as the harp itself is now dated back to the 15th century. 

Tickets were €13 on the door, but you can also buy them in advance online, and if you do that you are eligible for fast-track admission allowing you to get into the building before everyone else. 

My biggest tip is to go early. If you want to get some gorgeous photos of the library without any people in them, the only way to do that is to be one of the first people in. The website advises you to get there before the exhibit opens to queue for it, and I completely agree. It opened at 9:30am (but hours vary depending on the season, so check their website) so I actually got to the building for 8:45 am and even then I wasn’t the first person in the queue. And the fast-track people got to go in before I did. So how did I get my daily empty shots? 

Well here’s my secret. You go through the Book of Kells exhibit before you reach the library. It’s fascinating and you should definitely spend time there reading everything. But I actually skipped through it, went upstairs to the library first whilst everyone else was still look at the Book exhibit and then came back down once everyone else started going upstairs. I’m not sure if this is strictly allowed, but no one said anything. 

Photography is allowed in the Old Library Long Room, but not in the Book of Kells exhibit. 

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  • What a stunning and magical space, definitely a paradise for book lovers. xx

  • Oh wow it really looks amazing

    Candice | Beauty Candy Loves

  • Definitely one of the places I’d love to see! Imagine if you had full access to all the books too! Alice xxx

  • Laura Torninoja

    This was definitely one of the most beautiful places I visited when I went to Dublin – that long corridor is just something else! <3 x

    Laura // Middle of Adventure

    • It’s so dramatic! It looks like something from a film set, not something meant to be practical! x

  • Ashley Angle

    Wow, this is a dream! Really enjoyed reading abut the history!
    Ashley @ A Cute Angle //

  • I’m so, so, SO jealous! This is definitely on my bucket list. It looks amazing and sounds even better!

  • So far the grandest library I’ve been to was the National library in Vienna:)

    • I’ve just google imaged searched it and WOW. Seriously swooning. It has to be next on my library visit bucket list! x

  • If I ever go to Dublin this is the number one place to visit! It looks absolutely magical, I don’t think I’d ever want to leave the place! Lovely post πŸ™‚ x

    Kayleigh |

    • I definitely didn’t want to leave! The only reason why I could leave happily in the end is because the crowd started to get a bit overwhelming! x

  • Woooow! Now that is a truly impressive library! It’s giving me serious envy, I don’t even have a proper bookshelf to store all my treasured tomes xxx
    Lucy @ La Lingua

  • This was what I was looking forward to the most in Dublin, too! There were far less people there when you visited! Love your pics!

    • There ended up being loads of people there when I visited but I shared my tips for getting photos without the crowd in them πŸ˜‰ Basically, be first in line for when it opens, skip the Book of Kells and go straight to the library then when the crowd makes their way to the library you backtrack and go back to the Book of Kells πŸ˜‰ x

      • I know! That’s exactly what we did, but I guess when we visited a bunch of other people had the same idea. I had time for like one shot with only maybe 10 people in it, then it was like all hell broke loose! Ha! We did go in the summer, though, so maybe that had something to do with it. πŸ™‚ x

        • Oh what a bummer! I did notice in the queue that it was nearly all fellow Americans! It just must draw us like moths to a flame for some reason πŸ˜‰ x

  • ninegrandstudent

    This looks like such a gorgeous library. Dublin has been on my list for so long!

    NINEGRANDSTUDENT: A Lifestyle Blog

  • So beautiful!!! Have you actually seen the movie, The Secret of Kells? It’s beautiful.

  • Gorgeous photos! We actually skipped the Library when we went last summer, but it’ll be my first stop next time πŸ™‚

  • Miu

    This library is so impressive! I am always at awe with old books.