Trinity College

Trinity College Dublin was founded in 1592 by Elizabeth 1st on the site of an Augustinian monastery.  It is the sole college of Dublin University. The oldest surviving part of the college is a row of red-bricked buildings known as the Rubrics which were begun in 1700 and are now used for student digs. The front gate leads to the cobbled Parliament Square which is dominated by the Campanile of 1853. Around the grounds are many statues of and /or by famous people.   Beyond  the front square is the Old Library Building.  The Long room, the reading room, stretches 210 ft, is 41 ft wide and has a barrel vaulted ceiling.  It was finished in 1732 and houses more than 200,000 of the colleges collection of books.
Trinity was unusual in that women were allowed to attend from 1903, but it was much later that Catholics were allowed and then only with a special dispensation from Rome.   In fact it was not until the 1970's that they started entering the university.

Some of the famous people who attended Trinity college are Edmund Burke (1729-97), Oliver Goldmith, Jonathan Swift, Samuel Beckett, Oscar Wilde, and Bram Stoker (who wrote Dracula).

In the library of Trinity College Dublin, are kept some of the best preserved manuscripts of the 8th and 9th centuries.  These were copies of the Gospels painstakingly written and illustrated by teams of monks.  The Book of Kells is probably the most famous.  This is an illuminated latin manuscript of the four Gospels dating from about 800 AD.  It was the work of a team of monks in Kells (hence the name).  It has 680 pages and all but two are coloured.  Key pages such as those illustrating the Nativity or the Crucifixion are given full pages, while other pages have decorated letters filled with birds, animals and spiral patterns.  
One page is turned over every day.

The  7th century Book of Durrow is also in Trinity Library said to have been written at Durrow Abbey in about AD 675. It is one of the earliest manuscripts to have a carpet page, that is a page completely  covered in pattern and colour. It disappeared
from the Abbey in the 16th century but luckily  was found again and had survived belonging to  a farmer who used to pour water on it to cure his cattle!

The 8th century book of Dimma is also here as is St. Patricks Harp which is the oldest surviving harp in Ireland.

The library is open to the public and there is a good tourist shop.

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