29 Jan Trinity College , Dublin
If you are on a tour of Ireland you will undoubtably find yourself in Dublin , the home of Trinity College.
We at Ireland Luxury Tours recommend that you visit this magnificent institution.
Entering the peaceful grounds of Trinity College, in the very heart of the city’s traffic congestion, is like stepping into another world. This single-college university was founded by Elizabeth I in 1592 on confiscated monastery land, ostensibly “to civilise Ireland with both learning and the Protestant religion”. Small wonder, then, that it became a source of division in the city. Catholics were always allowed entry to the college, and free education – provided of course they converted; up until 1966, Catholics had to obtain a special dispensation to attend on pain of excommunication. Now, however, the proportion of Catholic students at TCD, as it is known, is about 70 per cent. The roll of honour is impressive, including Edmund Burke, Jonathan Swift, Bram Stoker, Wolfe Tone, Oscar Wilde and Samuel Beckett.
Today TCD, occupies a prime location at the heart of Dublin, in an oasis of gardens and parks. Inside, its buildings are arranged around quadrangles of lawns and cobbles. The theatre, examination hall, chapel, dining hall, and the old brick accommodation blocks known as the Rubrics can be seen as you pass from the Front Court to the Library Court.
The Old Library houses about 2 million volumes, stacked in a double-decker layer of huge floor-to-ceiling shelving in 20 bays of a splendid cathedral like hall, measuring 64m by 12m. The building was designed by Thomas Burgh in 1712; its barrel-vaulted ceiling was added in the 19th century. By far the most famous and precious of all the treasures here is the 8th century illuminated manuscript of how the four Gospels known as the Book of Kells. Inscribed in Latin on vellum parchment, its pages are magnificently ornamented with patterns and fantastic animals. Although the manuscript was certainly kept at the monastery of Kells in County Meath, there exists some doubt about whether it was actually produced there, some authorities believing it may have been copied in Iona or Lindisfarne.