Ireland: Book of Kells and The Long Room


One of the places that I made sure to visit while in Dublin was to visit the Long Room library at Trinity College. This magical two story library is still in use and fantastic in person. Visiting the Long Room is paired with the Book of Kells exhibit. The Book of Kells is an illuminated manuscript that was create around the year 800 AD on the Isle of Iona off the coast of Scotland. It was moved to Kells, Ireland after Iona was attacked. This book was stolen, found, and survived being damaged over the years. The manuscript was moved to Dublin in the 1650s for protection. In 1661 the book was given to Trinity College for safe keeping where it remains to this day.

The exhibit discusses other illuminated manuscripts along with the materials used to create them. This manuscript in particular is on vellum, calf-hide pages. There were at least three artists and four scribes that worked on creating the Book of Kells over the years in both Iona and Kells. To visit the Book of Kells and the Long Room you do have to purchase tickets for a specific time slot. Tickets are €18.50 for adults. This is one tour you cannot arrive at late to as they are scheduled every 30 minutes. Visitors do get to see the actual Book of Kells, it is protected behind thick glass in a specially lit room. No pictures are allowed but there is a replica in the Long Room.

The Long Room library opened in 1732 was originally only one story tall. The second story and barrel vaulted ceiling were added in 1861 because the original ceiling was in danger of collapse. I could have stayed in this room forever, it was beautiful. The exhibit in the middle of the room during our visit is about the history of the women that first studied at Trinity.

If you are in Dublin and if you enjoy history and books I highly recommend visiting Trinity College. There are tours of Trinity itself in addition to that of the Book of Kells. Have you ever seen the Long Room or the Book of Kells? If so, what did you think? Let me know in the comments! Safe travels and remember to leave no trace.

Thank you KW Photography for allowing me to use your wonderful photos!

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