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The Book of Kells and the Old Library Exhibition
Ranked #4 of 568 things to do in Dublin
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Fee: Yes
Recommended length of visit: <1 hour
Owner description: The Book of Kells is a world famous illuminated manuscript written in Latin of the Gospels from the Bible. It was painstakingly hand-written and illustrated by monks around 800 A.D.
Reviewed November 5, 2012

Well preserved - a gem to see. Very well presented and a proviledge to see. Well done Trinity for the good work you have done.

Thank Judy S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed November 5, 2012

Listen to the sounds of creaking wood while you are educated about the care and design put into the old Libraries. The tour guide will take you through - a highlight - don't miss.

Thank AlbertaCanadafamily
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 4, 2012

I've read other reviews that seemed to indicate disappointment with this historic and amazing exhibit. It was the highlight of my ten days in Ireland, so I definitely disagree with those other reviews!
The Book of Kells is a 9th century document that displays the creative artistic talent of the monks as they wrote out the first four books of the gospels--Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. The calligraphy is beautiful in itself, but words can't describe the ornate and colorful decorative lettering they used to personalize their work. Individual letters have pictures and artistry within them, and words that are repeated throughout the document (such as "and" or "he said" are uniquely drawn so that no design is ever a match for another. A totally awe-inspiring experience.
Equally awe-inspiring is the Long Room, the actual repository of old and not-so-old books in Trinity College. The smell and ambiance of the room envelopes you as you enter (it brought tears to my eyes, but I'm pretty emotional about books, anyway). Another awe-inspiring experience.
No cameras are allowed in either room, but you can get a brochure as a remembrance. The pictures cannot do justice to the sights themselves, as you have to breathe in the antiquity to fully experience it.

1  Thank SuffolkAnn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 4, 2012

Rick Steves, followed by other TV travel personalities, has put this place on the travel map, and this has resulted in a lot of revenue for Trinity College Library. But don't believe everything they say. Your interests may lie elsewhere. I arrived first thing on a rainy, Thursday morning in October. There was no line. I walked right in to ticket counter. I only had one day to explore Dublin so I didn't have a lot of time to read all the stuff on the placards or to listen to the headsets.You can study online before or after your visit. I came into an empty room with a display case and was quite surprised that this case contained the books. After having seen the illuminated manuscripts at the Cluny in Paris, I was disappointed with the two books of Kells, as they didn't have the sparkling illumination like the Paris books. There are two other books (not Kells) also in case. I couldn't believe I was the only person in this room. Soon, however, a boys' school group charged in and the magic was gone. But thank goodness for the spectacular Long Room up the stairs. The photos do not do it justice. This part is a must see. Don't forget to read the Irish declaration as you enter the room. Quite moving. And don't forget to look up, or you'll miss half the greatness of the room. Unfortunately, the gift shop did not have postcards depicting what I just saw as no photography is allowed. If you found my review helpful, please click on "yes."

1  Thank kitchenchemist
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed November 4, 2012

I am a 46 year old Dubliner. On my recent birthday I decided to go and see the Book of Kells as I had never seen it before. We went on a Saturday afternoon so the que/line was quite long but it moved along quite fast.
The exhibit itself is quite small, at first you enter a room with displays on the wall about different aspects of the Book of Kells and other ancient books. Then you go through to the books themselves. The books are in glass cases and each month the books are opened on a different page. It's a bit of a free for all in these rooms so if there is a big crowd it can be difficult to view and study the displays, but you can spend as much time as you like before moving upstairs to the Long Room which is an old library. This a lovely room with hundreds of old books on its shelves but you can do little but walk along the center aisle and view soom more old manuscripts in glass cases.
All in all I had expected a bit more but then again what more can you do with a book. It's just a book to display. I also thought the entrance fee of 9euro was a bit steep.

Thank GerryRua
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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