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Travel bucket list idea:

Last updated: 28 May, 2023
Expert travel writer: Nicola Brady

You can’t visit Dublin without walking over the cobbled stones of Trinity College, where Irish poet and writer Oscar Wilde was born and studied, among other literary greats. Founded in 1592, Trinity College Dublin was modelled after Oxford and Cambridge, though only one ‘college’ was established.

The university library – of which the famous Old Library is a part – is one of six legal deposit libraries in the British Isles and holds 4.5 million books (and counting).

The star of the show is the Old Library, home to the Book of Kells, an iconic 9th-century gospel manuscript. The Long Room houses 200,000 of Dublin’s oldest books.

After, and weather permitting, Trinity has an attractive green space where you can relax in the sun with a drink from the college bar, known locally as the ‘Pav’.

While you’re there 

Also on campus grounds is the Douglas Hyde Gallery, worth stopping by to see works by up-and-coming contemporary Irish and international artists.

Logistics

Price: Free
Minimum age: Any
Age suitable: 13+
When: All year around

Getting there & doing it

Downloadable maps are available on the university website – but an official student-guided walking tour will give you the best overview of the history of Trinity College, with admission to the Old Library and the Book of Kells Exhibition included.  

There’s a selection of guided and 45-minute self-guided tours available – see the options and book one online before you go.

When to do it

The Old Library and Book of Kells Exhibition is open all year round, seven days a week. 

Tours run mid-May to late September, Monday to Saturday, every half hour. 

Who to go with: organised tours

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Our selection of the best Viator tours of this attraction or activity

Fast-track Easy Access Book of Kells Tour with Dublin Castle

Dublin

Fast-track Easy Access Book of Kells Tour with Dublin Castle
Enjoy ease of access with online fast-track ticket entry to the Book of Kells. Discover one of the most important highlights of Irish heritage on this early access fully guided tour. You will explore the 9th Book of Kells' rich ornamentation, multi-layered symbolism and meaning. It is known for its world-renowned artistry, as well as its many hidden secrets and mysteries dating back to the 800 AD. This timed access tour offers visitors an extraordinary opportunity to enjoy the exhibition experience without the hustle and bustle of large crowds. Next, continue on this fascinating walking tour to explore the 13th century Dublin Castle and Gardens along medieval streets located within the original city walls of Dublin. Enjoy the history of Ireland and Dublin dramatized in extraordinary stories narrated by expert english speaking local guides. From Autumn/Fall 2023 the Library at Trinity College will be closed for renovations. The 9th century Book of Kells will still be on display.

Price: €59

Min age: 4

Rating 4.59 / 5 [2233 ratings]

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Destination guides

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Destination guides including or relevant to this experience

Dublin

County Dublin, Ireland

A bridge and houses reflecting in the River Liffey in the evening light

Medieval history, literature, art and culture marry epic nightlife and dining in a charming urban village.