**For the main post on my trip to Dublin, check here.**
If you think Dublin is only whiskey and beer, you are so wrong! As a massive bibliophile, I already knew about the Trinity College and its library. However, I did not know that Dublin had quite a bit more to offer the travelling booklover.
So what can a booklover do in Dublin? Keep on reading (see what I did there?)
Book of Kells and Trinity College Library
Probably the most famous haunt for all the readers out there. If you’re going during a busy season, I would book the tickets online in advance (they are all timed entrance). You can also buy tickets at the door, but only if the time slot is not full. I would also suggest to go for the first slot of the day (about 8, 8:30 in the morning) as there will be less people and it will be a lot more enjoyable.
Book of Kells
Before getting to the library, you will pass through an exhibition on The Book of Kells. Now, even if you are an atheist and not particularly interested in the subject, the exhibition will most likely captivate you. You can learn a lot about printing in the old times and especially about the hand done illustration that make The Book of Kells a work of art.
The exhibition is chock-full of the history behind the book, how it was made and it even has some excerpts from the book itself. The culmination of the exhibition is seeing one of the most embellished pages of the book. And no, you can’t take any photos.
Leaving The Book of Kells behind, you climb up a flight of stairs and go through a small door, a small door that hides whole universes behind it. Once you enter, the first thing that will draw your gaze is the high oak ceiling. It is very difficult to explain how high the library looks, all in wood, dark but warm, with the alcoves full of books on each side. It truly is something every lover of the written word should witness if possible.
I won’t say much more here, I’ll just leave you with some photos to enjoy.
If you have never been in Dublin, now is the best time. You can get one way flight tickets from Stansted for as low as £12!
This museum (not library) was established by Alfred Chester Beatty, an American-British mining magnate, philanthropist and one of the most successful businessmen of his generation. He was an avid collector of African, Asian, European and Middle Eastern manuscripts, rare printed books, prints and different objects (like Japanese snuff boxes).
I love the description of this book museum that can be found on their site – From Egyptian Books of the Dead to contemporary Chinese woodblock prints, the collection captures the richness of human creative expression.
I loved the look of the Trinity College Library, but I enjoyed Chester Beatty much more. It had some beautiful and interesting artefacts from religions and old cultures from all over the world. And it had the biggest book I have seen!!
You should definitely add this to your to do list and give yourself at least an hour to go through it. It is not big, there are 2 floors of exhibits, but the exhibits and their stories are very interesting and will subtilely make you slow down your pace and immerse yourself in the art of printing.
This is the library I, unfortunately, had to skip. It was on my itinerary for Saturday and, as luck will have it, I felt absolutely horrendous on that day! I had almost no energy at all and was burning up. In short, I felt like someone ran me over. Twice.
From my research, it is definitely a must visit when in Dublin (some even call it the best library in Dublin).
It opened in 1707 and was the first public library in all of Ireland! It is one of the few 18th century buildings left in Dublin that is still being used for its original purpose. It is a perfectly preserved library of the early Enlightenment. Many of the collections in the Library are still kept on the shelves allocated to them by the archbishop Marsh who built the place.
The library still features its original fittings, including seating and shelving. The bookcases are made of Baltic oak with carved and lettered gables. Some of the bookcases even have bullet holes from the Easter Rising!
It is close to St Patrick’s Cathedral (like, right under it on the map) so you can easily combine the two. There is a price joint ticket (€11) which admits you to the Library and to St Patrick’s Cathedral. Check for tickets here
Irish authors around dublin
The last thing I will add to this itinerary is the two statues to famous Irish authors.
One of them is to the great James Joyce (Dubliners). You can find it north of the river, just off the O’Connell street (close to The Spire).
The next one is a Memorial to Oscar Wilde, father of Dorian Gray. This statue is in the green embrace of the Merrion Square park, south of the river. It is very close to the National Galery of Ireland (worth a visit if you have time).
There could be a few more statues to Irish authors around, but I have only found these two (actually, I stumbled upon them by accident). If you know of any more, please share in the comment section and help your fellow travellers just planing their Dublin trip.
What are some of the best “bookish” places you visited around the world?