Trinity College and the Book of Kells, Dublin City

Trinity College and the Book of Kells, Dublin City

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Trinity College is Ireland's oldest university. It was founded by Queen Elizabeth I in 1592. Due to its picturesque setting and the famous people connected with it - Oscar Wilde studied here - Trinity College is one of the city's main tourist attractions.

Trinity College builds on its four-hundred-year-old tradition of scholarship to confirm its position as one of the great universities of the world, providing a liberal environment where independence of thought is highly valued and where staff and students are nurtured as individuals and are encouraged to achieve their full potential.

Housed in its Old Library is the Book of Kells Exhibition a definite a "must see" on the itinerary of all visitors visiting Dublin. Walk the cobbled stones of Trinity College and step back to the 18th century, when the magnificent Old Library building was constructed. Inside is housed the Book of Kells - a 9th-century gospel manuscript famous throughout the world.

The Book of Kells is celebrated for its lavish decoration. The manuscript contains the four Gospels in Latin based on a Vulgate text, written on vellum (prepared calfskin), in a bold and expert version of the script known as "insular majuscule". The place of origin of the Book of Kells is generally attributed to the scriptorium of the monastery founded around 561 by St Colum Cille on Iona, an island off the west coast of Scotland. In 806, following a Viking raid on the island which left 68 of the community dead, the Columban monks took refuge in a new monastery at Kells, County Meath. It must have been close to the year 800 that the Book of Kells was written, although there is no way of knowing if the book was produced wholly at Iona or at Kells, or partially at each location.

The Book of Kells has been on display in the Old Library at Trinity College Dublin from the mid 19th century, and attracts over 500,000 visitors a year. Since 1953 it has been bound in four volumes. Two volumes are on public view, one opened to display a major decorated page, and one to show two pages of script. The volumes are changed at regular intervals.

Visitors of the library are welcomed by friendly staff seven days a week.

You will enter through the Library Shop and proceed to the Book of Kells "Turning Darkness into Light" exhibition; then to the Treasury where the Book of Kells and other related manuscripts are on view; then proceed upstairs to the magnificent Long Room which houses 200,000 of the Library’s oldest books in its oak bookcases.

Exhibitions are held in the Long Room to display the rich holdings of the Library and encourage further research.

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