Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Old Trinity Library - Book of Kels; Dublin (Review)

A colleague had attended Trinity University in Dublin and insisted that, as an antique and book lover, that I take a visit to the Trinity Library and Book of Kels exhibit. When I learned that this site, the Long Room, was the inspiration for The Jedi Archives in the Jedi Temple on Coruscant in Star Wars II: Attack of the Clones (where they discovered that the planet had been erased) - yes I had to go!

Long Hall, Trinity Library, Dublin, Ireland - Sept 2015

These photos are from a visit in September 2015.

Book of Kels - Bible, Trinity Library, Dublin
The Book of Kels is an illustrated bible created by Celtic monks 1200 years ago. The exhibit has a great deal of history in the exhibit. Entry into the exhibit is times - but even then it was very crowded. A new portion of the book is shown each day. You can also see it in these digital archives. Today when people barely read a book or even write a letter - it is an interesting exercise to imaging how it could have taken so many people so many years to create this masterpiece. Some say it is one of Ireland's national treasures - which is easy to understand. No photos allowed - so I grabbed an image from the digital archive for your enjoyment. 

Other Dublin Day-trips and tours are reviewed in these blog updates.

The Long Room is an antique lovers library on steroids! Start with all highly detailed woodwork form the 1500-1600's that now has an amazing patina. 

Oak Bookcase details, Trinity Library, Dublin - Sept 2015
Layer in leaded glass windows for filtered light that sets the tone just perfectly. Place a dozen or so busts of great poets and scholars along the walls (from the sculptor Pieter Scheemakers ). I felt smarter already just being in the room.

Old Library Dublin, Trinity Library, Dublin

Long Library, Dublin

Trinity Library, Stack Organization Skema, Sept 2015

I thought that all the lettering in the aisles was a clever tracking system for all the volumes. Each tall column was lettered, each self was lettered and each section of the shelves was also cataloged. One side was lower case, the other upper case. It would have been interesting to see the system on the balcony.

The second story was an after-thought, put in place by raising the roof in the 1860's. They did an exceptional job! I wonder what the index file looked liked to track 200,000 volumes - was it a big book or was it a card file? By copyright law, the library receives (or can receive) a free copy of every published work in Ireland - and also the UK upon request. Over 100's of years, that is an amazing number of books.

Long Library, Dublin, Ireland Sept 2015
I also found myself wondering if the ladders used to reach the upper shelves were original. Nice system to move them around in each section. Not sure that I would trust these - but then I'm afraid of heights, even if it is only a few steps on a ladder!

As you can see in my pictures, the Long Room is generally crowded despite the timing on admission of groups to the hall. You can however take time to linger, review the volumes, and savor the moment. I understand that there are rare behind the scenes tours - that I would have enjoyed. 

Old Trinity Library, Dublin, Ireland 2015

Note the glass display cases. Historic documents which include an original copy of the Declaration of the Irish Republic. 

In a glass display case is what some say is the actual harp that was the inspiration for Ireland’s national symbol. (added in the 18th century it's called the Brian Boru harp) This looked so rich and oiled from years of handling and care.

Close up of Brian Boru Harp, Trinity Library, Dublin

Historic Harp, Dublin Ireland
A very worthwhile visit. It's easy to see why this is a top tourist destination in Dublin. The wait in line was about 45 minutes and the tour through the library was about an hour.  I lingered far longer than most in the old library :) Shopping is plentiful in the area - albeit a tad higher priced. Nice restaurants also within walking distance.

Happy Day

Teresa Marie

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