Trinity is Ireland's oldest college. Its charter was granted by Queen Elizabeth in 1592 as part of the effort to consolidate English control of Ireland. Catholics were not allowed entry into college until 1793, and all such restrictions were banned by 1873. The university started to grow in the eighteenth century as the political situation in Ireland stabilized. Many of the campus' most spectacular buildings date from this period. Today, Trinity is the most prestigious college in Ireland, and in the top tier of worldwide universities.
Though the campus is located on 47 acres in the heart of Dublin, it retains a unique collegial atmosphere. Many buildings look inward on the green, and there are only a few entrances. The highlight is definitely the Trinity College Library. Construction began way back in 1712. As a legal deposit library, it is entitled to receive every a copy of every book published in Great Britain and Ireland. In all it contains more than 5,000,000 volumes. The most famous is the Book of Kells, an eighth century illuminated manuscript of the New Testament.
Tours are offered, guided by a university student. It's well worth the cost, as the tour guides are well informed and entertaining. Admission to the library and the Book of Kells is included in the tour. The campus is a great destination even without the tour. The atmosphere is pleasant and there is a lot of historic architecture to look at.
Location: Trinity College Dublin, College Green, Dublin 2
Telephone: +353 01 896 1000
Train: Pearse Street
Hours: Grounds open 08:00-24:00; Book of Kells open daily 09:30-05:00, varies on Sundays.
Admission: €10 for tour (free for children under 12)