Trinity College, The Book of Kells and the Old Library
The Book of Kells is a beautiful gospel manuscript dating from a 9th century monastery in Ireland (or maybe Britain but let's not get into that). This artefact is probably Ireland's most significant historical piece due to the incredibly well-preserved nature of the copy at the Book of Kells Exhibition, the lavish design and the important place it has in Irish history.
Thanks to the Book, Trinity College is one of the most visited tourist attractions in Ireland but is it one of the most enjoyed? At Macanta Ireland we're split on this.
One side comes from a theory that there are some places that you go because you feel you should then tell yourself that you enjoyed it because you feel you should. Honestly ask yourself, how much do you want to see an (admittedly beautiful) artefact in a glass cabinet?
The standard components of this visit are a potentially long wait in an uncovered line, a fight for space around the cramped information boards displaying information about a time you can't comprehend and then another fight around the glass cabinet for a decent view of a the Book of Kells itself.
On the other hand, it's a beautiful artefact that is hugely significant in Ireland's history. This is a 1000 year old book that was written by monks in a country who's cultural and artistic achievements are not exactly put on a historical pedestal with the Romans, Egyptians, Incas or even the British.
The information boards are a lot to take in but are essential for understanding how Ireland functioned for centuries and how it got where it is today. Religion, power and society have been in separable until very recent times.
So, yes it is worth the wait and a few spots of rain.
We're both in total agreement that the Old Library is the highlight of a visit to the exhibition. This grandiose bust-lined room houses over 200,000 books from a collection dating back to 1743. It also houses yet more significant artefacts from Irish history such as a copy of the 1916 Proclamation and the Brian Boru Harp which is thought to have been owned by the high king of Ireland. .
The grand old university with its historical white buildings and cobbled squares is also a nice place to wander around or sit on the grass and have a picnic. You can also do a student-led tour of the grounds.