A true seat of learning: historic courtyards, the Book of Kells and a magnificent library.
Anybody can stroll free of charge around the old courtyards of the university with its good Classical façades, founded in 1592. Its famous alumni include writers such as Jonathan Swift, Bram Stoker - the author of Dracula, Oscar Wilde and Samuel Beckett. Visitors have to pay to see Trinity's two greatest treasures - the Book of Kells and the 18th century Library. The 680-page Book of Kells is a beautifully illuminated manuscript of the four Gospels, which is thought to have been produced around 800 AD on the Scottish island of Iona, and was then brought to Kells Monastery in Co. Meath, to protect it from Viking marauders. A most attractive exhibition sheds light on various aspects of the book, from the production of the colour pigments and the calf binding, to the symbolism, and life in the monasteries. A staircase leads up to the Long Room, which contains around 200,000 books. Take a look at the very impressive wood carvings on the high bookcases, and the barrel vaulting, beneath which there are busts of Irish writers and thinkers. Ireland's oldest harp, dating back to the late Middle Ages, is also on display in the Long Room.