Next on our Libraries world tour. Dublin!
If you are fond of old, beautiful books and picturesque places, the city has something you should absolutely see. The Old Library of Trinity College!
“Yeah, hi, I’d like to borrow them all, please.”
An ancient library
This outstanding and ancient library, the largest in Ireland, contains nearly 4.5 million books, with nearly 250,000 of them hosted only in its famous 65 metres-wide well-named Long Room.
This architectural Georgian work of art took the place, in the 18th century, of the original Elizabethan building that was founded with the rest of the College in 1592 on a former monastery’s site. Some extensions were built circa 1850 in order to accommodate more books!
And the result was worth it!
If the place can afford to contain so many books in its core, it is because it obtained in 1801 the right to acquire a free copy of each book published in Ireland and England.
The Long Room is decorated with 14 marble busts created by the sculptor Peter Scheemakers. It represents western thinkers like Isaac Newton and famous ancient philosophers such as Cicero, Aristotle and Plato. One can also find the busts of people related to the very history of Trinity College.
View of the Long Room and its marble busts.
AIn fact, among the many valuable works hosted in the Old Library, the most famous is the Book of Kells ! A magnificently ornamented manuscript containing the 4 Gospels of the New Testament, written by monks of Celtic culture nearly 1200 years ago.
The Book of Kells, view of the opening text of the Gospel of Luke
If you want to see more of it, the whole scanned document is available online for free on the College’s website ! So take a look at it here!
This place filled with stories and history also contains one of the rare copies of the 1916’s official Declaration of the Republic of Ireland, as well as the impressive Brian Boru’s Harp, the model for Ireland’s official symbol, dated around the 15th century and made of oak, willow and brass ropes.
So don’t forget! Next time you go to Dublin, seek the library first and keep the bars for later!