A trip to Trinity College is essential when visiting Dublin - and it's free!
When in Dublin you should take the opportunity to take a stroll through the grounds of 16th century Trinity College. Your visit can range from an hour or less up to a full day and there is no charge for entry. Trinity college is the alma mater of many renowned individuals including, Oscar Wilde, Jonathan Swift, Bram Stoker, Samuel Beckett, Wolfe Tone and Percy French.
Most students of the college (undergraduates especially) never walk underneath the Campanile, as the tradition suggests that if the bell rings while they pass under it, they will fail their annual examinations. This is negated only if they touch the foot of the statue of George Salmon within five seconds of the bell ringing.
Trinity College has a relaxed educational atmosphere despite its location in the centre of Dublin (and despite its being one of the most significant tourist attractions in Dublin). This is, in large part, due to the compact design of the college, whose main buildings look inwards and are arranged in large quadrangles (called squares), and the existence of only a few public entrances.
The main college grounds are approximately 190,000 m2 (47 acres), including the Trinity College Enterprise Centre nearby, and buildings account for around 200,000 m², ranging from works of older architecture to more modern buildings. The main entrance to the college is on College Green, and its grounds are bounded by Nassau and Pearse Streets. The college is bisected by College Park, which has a cricket and rugby pitch.
The western side of the college is older, featuring the iconic Campanile, as well as many fine buildings, including the Chapel and Examination Hall (designed by Sir William Chambers), Graduates Memorial Building, Museum Building, and the Rubrics, all spread across College’s five squares. The Provost’s House sits a little way up from the College Front Gate on Grafton Street, one of the two principal shopping streets in Dublin, while its garden faces into the college. The Douglas Hyde Gallery, a contemporary art gallery, is located in the college as is the Samuel Beckett Theatre. It hosts national and international performances, and is used by the Dublin International Theatre Festival, the Dublin Dance Festival, and The Fringe Festival, among others. During the academic term it is predominantly used as a teaching and performance space for Drama students and staff.
The eastern side of the college is occupied by Science buildings, most of which are modern developments, arranged in three rows instead of quadrangles. In 2010, Forbes ranked the it as one of the 15 most beautiful college grounds in the world.
The Book of Kells which dates back to the 9th century is an exquisite and lavishly decorated copy of the first four gospels in Latin and is the most famous manuscript in the Library of Trinity College Dublin where it is permanently on display. Even after such a long time, the grandeur and aura of this historical book has not diminished and evokes much passion among all those who witness this historical spectacle.
The Book of Kells is kept in a low-lit gallery with only two pages displayed at a time, although they are turned after some period. Visitors to Dublin come pouring in from all parts of the world to have a glimpse of this historical script. There is a charge to view the Book of Kells.