The Book of Kells and the Old Library Exhibition, Dublin

4.2
#5 of 5,210 in Things to do in Ireland
One of Ireland's major cultural and artistic treasures, The Book of Kells and the Old Library Exhibition counts among the oldest texts in the world, dated to the 9th century. This illuminated manuscript contains the four gospels of the Bible's New Testament and other sacred texts, written in Latin by Celtic monks. Despite the importance of its written sections, the book's main appeal lies in its illustrations, remarkable because of the artistry and attention to detail achieved by their creators. The intricately decorated pages feature vibrant colors and complex decorative patterns, painstakingly hand-drawn to enhance each section of text. You can see several pages of both illustrations and text at Ireland's largest library, which has displayed this historical book since the 19th century. For travelers who use our international travel planner, Dublin holidays become easier to arrange, with trips to the The Book of Kells and the Old Library Exhibition and other attractions mapped out and timetabled.
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The Book of Kells and the Old Library Exhibition Reviews
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21,512 reviews
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4.4
TripAdvisor
  • Impressive library. Small leaflets in all languages that give ideas to enhance the visit of the little ones. Expo Book of Kells well done but the book is not visible at the moment. Lots of people.
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  • A must see in Dublin! The long room is Incredible, quite pricey and very touristy but extremely worth it.  more »
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  • One of the busiest attractions in Dublin so I would suggest starting as early as possible. It was quiet for the first half hour whilst we looked at the exhibition element which has a lot of detailed boards to read but after that the school parties started arriving and it gets more frustrating if you want to read things or look up close. By the time you get to the book itself there is a degree of anti-climax because you aren't going to get much time on a busy day. Also there are only 2 versions on display so you will only see two pages and in very low light. Our hotel had a beautiful colour version on display which was actually a lot more enjoyable to look through at leisure. After this you will go upstairs to the Long Room of the old library at Trinity and this is really wonderful. It's all old wood, leather bound books, ladders and shelves leading up to the sky. This amazing antiquarian library was the inspiration for the Jedi library and feels like a Harry Potter film set. Obviously the books can't be reached but a selection of key texts, many of them anatomy or medical, are open in display cases. Really interesting to see the hand drawn and coloured illustrations and diagrams. As this is the end of the tour the crowds tend to dawdle here so it really is hard to get a decent photo. Nonetheless, it is a really atmospheric finish. Others have said this is an expensive exhibition but there is a lot of information and much to learn if you have the inclination.
  • The library is very impressive and being able to walk through so much history is definitely a unique and breathtaking experience. The small exhibition before seeing the Book of Kells was also very interesting. I didn't have to wait to get in as there was no line when I arrived at 9 am, on a Wednesday. The only problem with this attraction is the cost. I understand the need to maintain and secure the library and the Book. But 14 euros is just outrageous!
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