Old Library & Book of Kells

Top choice library in Grafton Street & St Stephen's Green

Image by Oliver Strewe Getty Images

Trinity's greatest treasures are found within the Old Library, built by Thomas Burgh between 1712 and 1732. The star of the show is the Book of Kells, a breathtaking, illuminated manuscript of the four Gospels of the New Testament, created around AD 800 by monks on the Scottish island of Iona, but more stunning still is the 65m Long Room, the library's main chamber, which houses around 200,000 of the library's oldest volumes.

Other displays include a rare copy of the Proclamation of the Irish Republic, read out by Pádraig Pearse at the beginning of the Easter Rising in 1916, as well as the so-called harp of Brian Ború, which was definitely not in use when the army of this early Irish hero defeated the Danes at the Battle of Clontarf in 1014. It does, however, date from around 1400, making it one of the oldest harps in Ireland.

Your entry ticket also includes admission to temporary exhibitions on display in the East Pavilion.

The Old Library gets very busy during the summer months, so it's recommended to go online and buy a fast-track ticket, which gives timed admission to the exhibition and allows visitors to skip the queue. You'll still get only a fleeting moment with the Book of Kells, as the constant flow of viewers is hurried past.


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