Confession: D and I hate museums. Ok, maybe hate is a strong word. Let's just say we tend to avoid them unless there's something in one of them that we'd love to see. For example, the Louvre in Paris…it's a "must-see" and we enjoyed hunting down the handful of pieces we really wanted to see in person. A museum I could have done without? The Uffizi Gallery in Florence. SHOOT. ME. NOW. Gorgeous interior, but I felt like we wasted a third of our day getting lost in the massive crowds inside it. When we plan our trips, museums aren't usually attractions on our itinerary, but for Dublin, we knew we had to visit Trinity College and the Book of Kells. Trinity College is touted as Ireland's premier university and is situated right smack dab in the center of Dublin. Our hotel was just a few blocks from its ancient wooden doors (pictured above), making it an easy visit our first day in the city. While Trinity College has quite a lot of charm, history, and a beautiful campus, it's the housing of the Book of Kells inside the Old Library that drew us in.
The Book of Kells is a beautifully illuminated medieval manuscript that contains the four Gospels of the New Testament in Latin written on 680 pages of prepared calfskin. It was created in a Columban monastery in Ireland around 800 AD and is celebrated for its lavish decoration and colorful intricate artwork, not to mention the wonderful story it holds. The admission to see the Book of Kells is €9 and includes the "Turning Darkness into Light" exhibit (very interesting, even for a non-museum lover like me), entrance into the Long Room, and entrance into the current Long Room exhibit. Unfortunately, no photos are allowed inside the Book of Kells exhibits. Another reason why I typically don't like museums.
After D and I spent time viewing the wonders of the Book of Kells, we made our way into my favorite part of the tour…the Long Room! The Long Room is the main chamber of the Trinity College Old Library and my gosh is it STUNNING. Easily the most beautiful library I've ever stepped foot into. And you could take photographs! WHOO HOO! :) The Long Room is home to 200,000 of the library's oldest books and is a massive 213 feet long. The room smells of old books (heavenly), has regal busts of famous writers and philosophers lining its aisles, and has dozens of those adorable sliding wooden ladders used to reach those high-up books. I now want a sliding wooden ladder in my home, of course. D and I spent quite a bit of time in here, squinting our eyes to see what kinds of fun books were stored and battling a barrage of high schoolers on a field trip, no doubt (come early to avoid the crowds!). I was absolutely enamored with this room and only wish I could have grabbed a book and read there for a while. If you find yourself in Dublin and don't mind gorgeous books and a little bit of museum-like atmosphere, make a stop at Trinity College for the Book of Kells and the Long Room. If I can fall in love, you can too!