Only a limited number of people are allowed inside the library at a given time, and this can lead to queues - try to head there early to beat the rush.
Walking through the grounds of Ireland’s oldest university, it is easy to forget that you are in the middle of a modern capital city. Spread out over almost 50 acres, its wide-open grassy spaces and ancient quads provide a welcome break from the bustle of central Dublin and manage to combine a friendly, student-driven atmosphere with a strong sense of history. Elizabeth I founded Trinity in 1592 as part of an effort to prevent promising young Dubliners heading to Europe to pursue a university education. Since then, it has developed into one of the world’s most prestigious academic institutions, and can boast alumni such as Oscar Wilde, Francis Bacon and Jonathon Swift.
The Pages of History
Foremost among Trinity’s attractions is its library. A masterpiece of 17th century architecture, its original building would once have towered over the rest of the university. Even now, surrounded by building of comparable size, the old library dominates the view of the university from Nassau Street. Inside are housed no fewer five million books. The most famous of these is the Book of Kells, a 1200-year-old illuminated gospel manuscript widely regarded as one of Ireland’s finest historical artefacts. The old library also features the gorgeous Long Room, whose polished two-storey shelves stretch back a full 65m, interspersed with marble busts of historical figures associated with the university.
Bad luck of the Irish
Another of Trinity’s most important structures is the Campanile, a 30m belltower located in the centre of the university campus. Its size and form are impressive from any angle, but beware walking beneath it - legend has it that anyone passing under the tower when the bells begin to ring will be doomed to a lifetime of bad luck.
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