The Book of Kells and the Old Library Exhibition

The Book of Kells and the Old Library Exhibition, Dublin: Hours, Address, The Book of Kells and the Old Library Exhibition Reviews: 4.5/5

The Book of Kells and the Old Library Exhibition

The Book of Kells and the Old Library Exhibition
4.5
Points of Interest & Landmarks • Libraries
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9:30 AM - 5:00 PM
Monday
9:30 AM - 5:00 PM
Tuesday
9:30 AM - 5:00 PM
Wednesday
9:30 AM - 5:00 PM
Thursday
9:30 AM - 5:00 PM
Friday
9:30 AM - 5:00 PM
Saturday
9:30 AM - 5:00 PM
Sunday
12:00 PM - 4:30 PM
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About
The Book of Kells Exhibition is a must-see on the itinerary of all visitors to Dublin. Located in the heart of the city centre in Trinity College Dublin, the Exhibition displays the Book of Kells, a 9th century manuscript that documents the four Gospels of the life of Jesus Christ. The Book of Kells is Ireland’s greatest cultural treasure and the world’s most famous medieval manuscript. The Exhibition also features access to the Long Room, one of the world’s most beautiful libraries, that houses 200,000 of Trinity College’s oldest books.
Suggested duration
< 1 hour
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Top ways to experience The Book of Kells and the Old Library Exhibition
The area
Address
Neighborhood: South City Centre
How to get there
  • Abbey St • 7 min walk
  • St. Stephen's Green • 8 min walk
Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
Popular mentions

4.5
23,080 reviews
Excellent
12,934
Very good
6,274
Average
2,854
Poor
722
Terrible
306

Whiskers7
Pittsburgh, PA23 contributions
We visited at the end of June, 2022 and were glad that we purchased tickets in advance as the exhibit was sold out when we arrived. Since tickets were timed, we expected crowd control due to Covid, but that was not the case. Be prepared to wear a mask as it is shoulder to shoulder for at least the beginning. Highly recommend downloading the app in advance for a free audio tour (Visit Trinity). You will see one page of the Book of Kells--stunning. Trinity Library alone is worth the price of admission. Gift shop on the way out and a lovely green just outside the exit for picnicking.
Written August 3, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Dear Whiskers7, Many thanks for visiting the Book of Kells and Old Library and for taking the time to leave a review. We are delighted to hear that you enjoyed your visit and thought that it was extraordinary. We are very sorry to hear about the experience you had with crowds. Visitor safety is our number one priority, therefore we are taking this matter quite seriously and have raised it with the team responsible for managing the volume of people entering. We would be very glad to discuss this matter further with you if you would like to reach out to us directly at: bookofkells@tcd.ie. Kind regards, The Book of Kells Team.
Written August 14, 2022
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Shannon & AJ
Fayetteville, NC11 contributions
Couples
The line at the beginning is pretty bad due to the every half hour time slots so when you go in you’re fighting for space with about 50 people all starting the tour together. Once the crowds disperse a little it isn’t too bad.

The beginning is full of history and wall graphics to learn about the book of kells. There is an audio tour option which is downloadable so we recommend bringing headphones. We still really enjoyed the visuals and the descriptions without the audio portion.

The library is breathtaking. It smells of old books, and the room is plenty big to have space to look at the shelves, busts, and other display items.
Written June 24, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Dear gray1003, Many thanks for visiting the Book of Kells and Old Library and for taking the time to leave a review. We are pleased to hear that you enjoyed your visit! We are also delighted to hear that the Old Library was breathtaking! However, we are very sorry to hear about the experience you had with crowds. We have raised the issue with the team responsible for managing the volume of people entering. It is our goal to offer an enjoyable and memorable experience to all of our visitors, and as such we will certainly take your comments into consideration. Best wishes, The Book of Kells Team
Written June 27, 2022
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

federicabroglia27
Sondrio, Italy2 contributions
Very interesting visit, the guide very nice and knowledgeable, but not to be done in high season and on Sunday. If you buy the full ticket in addition to visiting the college you also have access to the Library. It is important to take time to read the information listed and displayed on the walls , downloading the Trinity College app provides an audio guide to help during the visit.
Written July 17, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Dear Federica B, Many thanks for visiting the Book of Kells and Old Library and for taking the time to leave a review. We are delighted to hear that you enjoyed your visit and enjoyed learning about pre-modern Ireland and the Book of Kells! Best wishes, The Book of Kells Team
Written July 28, 2022
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Natalia B
1 contribution
a total shame. I have never seen so rude staff and waist 36 euro.
I booked the last visit of the day ( time 4,30 p.m. ) I arrived on time and immediately I started to see the staff attitude. in the first room, a staff member immediately starts to hide the signs with the info to download the app for the audio tour, like he didn't want us to use the app. in the second room after less than 5 minutes we entered another staff entered and switch off the video explanation so my mother was able to watch the video but not me due to I was reading another wall of the room and after 5 more minutes the same stuff member came to us and push us to another room saying 'move, the more interesting stuff is upstairs' and he immediately closed the door after us.
arrived upstairs in the library the staff left us a very short time to go around, I had to choose between taking just 4 pictures in the library or finish listening to the audio guide in the app.
the staff literally kick us out less than 40 minutes after we started the view because they need to close the gallery ( at 5,15 p.m. we were already outside while they closed the door behind us )
the price is for one hour of tour and not 40 minutes, it is the most expensive gallery entry price in all Dublin ( I paid 18 euro for one ticket ) and I saw the rudest and boorish staff I have ever seen.
the gallery is beautiful and the app audio guide is well built, I don't know if it is because was the last tour of the day but we left Ireland very disappointed with the Trinity college staff. we didn't enjoy the visit and we left very disappointedly with the treatment we received.
try to don't book the last day visit if you don't want to waist your money
Written May 2, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Dear K182UAnataliab, We sincerely apologise to hear that you had an unpleasant experience. Therefore, We would like to offer a refund for what you have experienced. Therefore, please do not hesitate to contact us at bookofkells@tcd.ie in order to proceed with this small gesture of compensation. Wishing you a lovely day I'm looking forward to hearing from you.
Written May 31, 2022
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Betsy
1 contribution
Family
For the Book of Kells exhibit, I would recommend getting the audio guide, which was not presented to us as an option when we entered the exhibit, nor on reserving the ticket. Frankly, I didn’t get much out of the experience — and I’m an academic. The kids around me looked bored stiff. First there’s a manuscript page open — extraordinary artistry, but that’s five minutes’ worth of looking. Then you walk upstairs into the library — seeing old books on shelves isn’t that much of a thrill. The gift shop is nice but small and very narrowly laid out so very hard to navigate with people in it (and there are usually a lot of people in it). The tour of the college itself was good, though — excellent guides.
Written July 27, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Dear lisbetc713, Many thanks for visiting the Book of Kells and Old Library and for taking the time to leave a review. We are delighted to hear that you enjoyed your visit and thought that it was beautiful! However, we are sorry to hear that you felt the experience was not worth the price of admission. All revenue generated through visitor sales directly funds the conservation of the Old Library and its precious collections for future generations. We are also sorry to hear that you were disappointed with the experience - we do recommend downloading the audio guide in advance of your visit. Unfortunately due to the very sensitive nature of the manuscript, the pages on display are changed approximately every 8 weeks, hence why the page you were able to view on this visit was different to that you saw some time ago. However, it is our goal to offer an enjoyable and memorable experience to all of our visitors and as such we will certainly take your comments into consideration. Best wishes, The Book of Kells Team
Written July 30, 2022
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

hanna718
NOVA522 contributions
Solo
First off, especially on a weekend or during busy season, you need to book online. I did, but I saw people surprised they couldn't just get a ticket when they showed up.

The Book of Kells is an historic item, worth seeing, and the exhibition is well done (I do recommend downloading the audio guide). But the book itself takes a few minutes at most. The Long Room is iconic, but if you've seen a picture you've kind of seen it. It's worth going, but if you can't get a ticket, you're not missing out on a lifetime experience.

I would recommend trying to go first timeslot. Groups are on the half hour, so if you go later you will have groups both ahead and behind you, which would make it even more crowded.
Written July 4, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Dear Hanna, Many thanks for visiting the Book of Kells and Old Library and for taking the time to leave a review. We are delighted to hear that you enjoyed your visit and thought that it was extraordinary! The Old Library is certainly a beautiful space! Best wishes, The Book of Kells Team
Written July 9, 2022
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

camA3398CT
m2 contributions
The library is very beautiful, but the way the whole thing is organised it's a bit of a letdown.
There are way too many people trying to usher, organise and direct you in all the ways that it's getting very confusing.
For what you get to see, the tickets is very expensive - €18 for a short walk around the place only to be bombarded with souvenirs at the end, the little shop is too crammed so it's a struggle getting out. Let's face it - €18 for two rooms it's too much - you can visit the whole Louvre for €16, the Hermitage in St Petersbourg for €10, while you can't compare the two, the price is not justified. The prices has increased dramatically but the services hasn't changed and the offer is still the same.
Written July 17, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Dear camA3398CT, Many thanks for visiting the Book of Kells and Old Library and for taking the time to leave a review. We are delighted to hear that you enjoyed your visit and thought that it was breath-taking! However, we are sorry to hear that you felt the experience was not worth the price of admission. All revenue generated through visitor sales directly funds the conservation of the Old Library and its precious collections for future generations. We are also very sorry to hear about the experience you had with crowds. Visitor safety is our number one priority, therefore we are taking this matter quite seriously and have raised it with the team responsible for managing the volume of people entering. We would be very glad to discuss this matter further with you if you would like to reach out to us directly at: bookofkells@tcd.ie However, it is our goal to offer an enjoyable and memorable experience to all of our visitors and as such we will certainly take your comments into consideration. With kind regards, Antrea
Written July 28, 2022
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Jasmine
London, UK43 contributions
Couples
As this was a 'must visit' if one is in Dublin, my husband and I made a point of setting aside the budget to visit. To begin with, we felt the price was slightly steep but appreciated that a lot of maintenance goes into the upkeep and therefore justified the cost of the tickets to ourselves. Entry was relatively straightforward but once in , it was unfortunately quite chaotic - we were unable to spend much time reading the exhibits on entry because it was utterly cramped and packed. This was disappointing given that people are booking timed entries. Similarly the Book itself is difficult to view/appreciate whilst a throng of people cluster around it without any real system for viewing. The Library however, though busy, was exceptional and worth the visit. There was opportunity to admire and even a chance to sit down and reflect on its beauty. Yes, it was busy but perhaps the high ceilings and historic element - to be in the presence of knowledge - was calming despite the crowds. Overall it is worth the visit but one should visit with lower expectations and be pleasantly surprised if there are fewer people/there is space to appreciate it all.
Written May 28, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Dear Wanderluster92. Many thanks for visiting the Book of Kells and Old Library and for taking the time to leave a review. We are delighted to hear that the Old Library was exceptional and worth the visit! However, we are very sorry to hear about the experience you had with crowds. We have raised this issue with the team responsible for managing the volume of people entering. It is our goal to offer an enjoyable and memorable experience to all of our visitors, and as such we will certainly take your comments into consideration. Best wishes, The Book of Kells Team
Written June 4, 2022
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

otpen17
Kalamazoo, MI4 contributions
It seems that since it is always busy, they do the bare minimum. Poor cellular signal and no Wifi prevent you from using their audio guide, many people in a cramped space when trying to read about the book before seeing it. The long room in the library is beautiful and nice to see, but overall, it is not worth 18 euro per person. Kind of disappointed that Rick Steves listed this as a must-do. Go to the National Museums instead, much more worth the time and free.
Written May 3, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Dear otpen17. Many thanks for visiting the Book of Kells and Old Library and for taking the time to leave a review. We are delighted to hear that you enjoyed your visit to the Long Room! However, we are sorry to hear that you felt the experience was not worth the price of admission. All revenue generated through visitor sales directly funds the conservation of the Old Library and its precious collections for future generations. We are also sorry to hear that you were disappointed with the experience - we do recommend downloading the audio guide in advance of your visit. It is our goal to offer an enjoyable and memorable experience to all of our visitors and as such we will certainly take your comments into consideration. Best wishes, The Book of Kells Team
Written May 24, 2022
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Rachel B
5 contributions
Solo
The Book of Kells is probably the oldest thing in Dublin, but it wasn't even "born" here. Don't get me wrong, it's amazing, beautiful, and fascinating, but admission is pretty excessive for what you get.
Even though I have excellent 5G data service all over the UK and Ireland, my pre-booked ticket wouldn't open on my phone at the door. The provided free WiFi is terrible and doesn't help, but if you pre-book the viewing, they can look you up by your last name and entering is no problem. You can scan a QR code to access a guided audio tour, which is nice, but the WiFi disappears when you go upstairs, so I couldn't hear anything about the Library or Long Room until I was down in the overpriced gift shop.
Aside from these drawbacks, the Book of Kells itself (being glass in a darkened, climate controlled area where pictures are NOT allowed) is beautiful. It IS ancient, and the detail is absolutely incredible, especially when you think about when it was copied. The Library and Long Room are fascinating and amazing to someone like me who loves anything related to literature and history.
Most of the buildings in Dublin are newer, and even the "old" buildings are relatively new compared to what you will find in England and Scotland (and even in the US), so the Book of Kells is probably the oldest item in the City. If you aren't really interested in the bible, history, or libraries, you should probably just take some pictures of the outside of Trinity College for free and save your money for something more interesting elsewhere in Ireland.
(As a side note, everything in Dublin is overpriced and very expensive compared to England, Scotland, and Wales)
Written April 7, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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Frequently Asked Questions about The Book of Kells and the Old Library Exhibition

The Book of Kells and the Old Library Exhibition is open:
  • Sun - Sun 12:00 PM - 4:30 PM
  • Mon - Sat 9:30 AM - 5:00 PM
Buy tickets in advance on Tripadvisor. If you book with Tripadvisor, you can cancel at least 24 hours before the start date of your tour for a full refund.

We recommend booking The Book of Kells and the Old Library Exhibition tours ahead of time to secure your spot. If you book with Tripadvisor, you can cancel up to 24 hours before your tour starts for a full refund. See all 12 The Book of Kells and the Old Library Exhibition tours on Tripadvisor