The Book of Kells & Old Library

The Book of Kells & Old Library

The Book of Kells & Old Library
4.5
Points of Interest & LandmarksLibraries
09:30 - 17:00
Monday
09:30 - 17:00
Tuesday
09:30 - 17:00
Wednesday
09:30 - 17:00
Thursday
09:30 - 17:00
Friday
09:30 - 17:00
Saturday
09:30 - 17:00
Sunday
12:00 - 16:30
About
Trinity College Dublin is Ireland’s oldest university, and home to its greatest cultural treasure, the Book of Kells. A precious 9th century manuscript, containing the four Gospels of the New Testament, the Book of Kells is filled with ornate Latin text and intricate illustrations. Located in the Old Library, visitors can view the ancient manuscript, before marveling at the Long Room, considered to be one of the world’s most beautiful libraries. A once in a lifetime event is currently taking place in the Old Library, with 200,000 books being carefully removed. On your visit you will witness this historic event, which is part of the landmark Old Library Redevelopment Project. Within the Long Room, visitors will also en Brian Boru Harp, Ireland's oldest surviving harp and a rare original copy of the Proclamation, a seminal text in Irish history. Make the most out of your visit and include a guided tour of campus with the Book of Kells & Campus tour package.
Suggested duration
< 1 hour
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Top ways to experience The Book of Kells & Old Library
The area
Neighbourhood: South City Centre
How to get there
  • Abbey St • 7 min walk
  • St. Stephen's Green • 8 min walk
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See what travellers are saying
  • Jeanette H
    4 contributions
    Amazing
    Crazy beautiful. The library was well work the visit. We felt the price wasn't really worth it though. You go through a short few rooms to see the book in a dark room then on to the libraby. We spent maybe 30 minutes total. The staff working the front door and in the library were not very friendly. The gift shop folks were nice.
    Visited November 2022
    Written 4 December 2022
  • Abamagal
    Pensacola, Florida312 contributions
    Beautiful Library
    The library was gorgeous and that part of the visit was thoroughly enjoyed. The Book of Kells and the rooms leading to it was WAY overcrowded. It was nearly impossible to get close enough to read any of the info and there was a large tour group that was so loud we couldn’t hear the audio tour. So for us everything leading up to the library was a waste.
    Visited December 2022
    Travelled with family
    Written 8 December 2022
  • SheSawTheWorld
    Atlantic Beach, Florida144 contributions
    A Bookworms dream!
    This is a beautiful sight to see. This place holds history in written form. While the Book of Kellis is what I came to see, the Long Library was the true MVP! This is a place of beauty knowledge and history in one place. The logistics of ticket buying was pretty easy. I did not purchase tickets ahead of time. When you arrive at the location you can scan a QR code that will allow you to purchase time tickets. I had wifi with my phone plan, however I heard others talking about connecting to the locations complimentary timed wifi, for both the purchase and the download of the app to tour the exhibit. Easy to get to with public transportation. There is an option to download an app for an audio tour of the Book of Kells museum portion of the tour, before going into the main attraction of the actual book of Kells. The room is dark and not video or pictures are allowed. The next stop is the Long Library. A must see! Please be prepared to share this experience with 200+ of your closest friends. As they also want to see the historic marvel that dates back to the early 1730's. Patience is required to enjoy this beautiful part of history.
    Visited November 2022
    Written 10 December 2022
  • ljmorford
    Wichita, Kansas34 contributions
    Worth seeing...go at a less busy time!
    Enjoyed visiting the Old Library and the Book of Kells. Would have loved to spend a little more time here, but I had limited time in my schedule. Besides, it was extremely crowded, so it was difficult to linger and absorb all of the information in the Book of Kells exhibit. I went at about 2:30 PM, so it might have helped if I had gone earlier or later.
    Visited September 2022
    Written 10 December 2022
  • Judy F
    20 contributions
    Trinity College a must see site in Dublin
    We went on the Trinity College guided tour and really enjoyed it. Our guide was a grad student who knew all of the history and amusing stories also, lots of fun. The library and Book of Kells exhibit was crowded but beautiful and interesting if you like museums and history.
    Visited May 2022
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 14 December 2022
  • LHall
    Southampton, United Kingdom7 contributions
    Better than the pictures - expensive for the time but worth it
    We were not going to go to this tour at first but were persuaded by a couple we met on a day trip and so glad we did. It is expensive given the tour is only 30 minutes ish in total but it did end up being one of our highlights of our Dublin trip. Pictures do not do it justice! One of the staff in the long room also stood explaining the referencing system and book covers to us for 10 minutes, very happy to share knowledge and answer our questions. We found all the staff helpful and willing to help. The initial exhibition is ok but the layout of it is annoying as there is no defined way to move through the exhibition to ensure you've seen everything. The long room is the highlight and we loved it! It was a wonderful room to see and far better in person. A great rainy day activity!
    Visited December 2022
    Written 18 December 2022
  • Therése A
    Tyreso, Sweden93 contributions
    Beautiful!
    I wish I had known a little bit more about the Book of Kells before the visit. And there could have been more information about who the exebition was planned out. I should have spent more time in the first room, really looking att all the pictures and not just listening to the audio guide (which was very good!) because when I entered the room with the book I was a bit dissapointed... So make sure you look at everything before you go on to the book. The library was amazing! Probably the best part of it tbh. Very crowded!
    Visited December 2022
    Written 20 December 2022
  • Brian
    2 contributions
    Thanks to a random volunteer/employee
    Must see, Trinity college is beautiful. We were regrettably late for the last appointment slot. We got stuck in traffic and our taxi driver had trouble finding it. The wonderful person taking tickets was waiting for us, even though we missed our window. I can't thank this person enough for having the kindness, patience, and compassion. The Book of Kells is beautiful and I highly recommend strolling around the college grounds.
    Visited November 2022
    Written 21 December 2022
  • JHoaglandFL
    Orlando, Florida253 contributions
    Interesting history and amazing architecture
    We went at 9:30 in the morning on a cold Thursday, so there were probably only about 20 other people! This made it very easy to see the exhibits, the Book of Kells, and the library. We booked our tickets ahead of time, printed them, then the staff scanned the QR code. You should be able to show the QA code from your phone, but the point is that you should probably book in advance. And to clarify what some people are complaining about: the first part of the exhibit are displays telling you about the Book Kells, such as the history and how it was made. Then you go into a darkened room and see ONE of the four books, open to a random page. You do not see all 4 books, you can't leaf through the book on your own, and you may not know in advance which page will be on display. I really hope people don't expect that they'll be able to touch a book made over 1,200 years ago!
    Visited December 2022
    Written 23 December 2022
  • John L
    Grand Bend, Canada2,038 contributions
    Turning Darkness into Light
    The stunning Book of Kells is an illuminated manuscript containing the four Gospels of the New Testament, created in a Columban Monastery c. 800 AD. Figures of humans, beasts, as well as Celtic knots, interlacing patterns and vibrant colours are found throughout. The book is named after the Abbey of Kells, County Meath, where it was housed for many years. It is often crowded, and pre-booking is essential, but these are minor annoyances in what was an incredible afternoon.
    Visited October 2022
    Written 10 January 2023
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4.5
23,962 reviews
Excellent
13,331
Very good
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Average
2,972
Poor
812
Terrible
408

Harry G
Solon, OH340 contributions
Nov 2023 • Couples
The photo to the left is accurate. The Library is vast but under renovation so most books are removed. It is still awesome. The display around the Book of Kells is very informative. Hard to believe, the gift shop is excellent: mechanical pocket watches available. Our Grandchildren do not know what they are. This is a not-to-be missed visit if in Dublin.
Written 29 November 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

urbanguy
Richmond, VA4,629 contributions
Sep 2023 • Couples
The Long Library holds 200,000 volumes. They are in the process of removing EVERY book so that a major renovation can occur. They had videos showing what the removal process involved: cleaning each volume, tagging it, boxing it, etc. Amazing!

The Book of Kells exhibit was, as expected, fascinating.
Written 27 November 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Hannah S
14 contributions
Nov 2023 • Solo
Great exhibit with an easy to use app to guide you through the history! Spent about 40 minutes or so here, but it was well worth it!
Written 21 November 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Kayleigh
Nottingham, UK13 contributions
Nov 2023 • Couples
Really interesting and amazing experience! The information about the Book of Kells and the Old Library was very interesting, and due to limited visitors at each time the rooms weren't too crowded. The old library was also very interesting, although it's a shame many of the books were being restored at the time of our visit. However the Gaia installation really made the place feel magical
Written 20 November 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Ann O
4 contributions
Nov 2023 • Couples
Very disappointing, we were charged the full price for visiting an empty library 😕
Apparently the library has been emptied to clean the shelves and dust the books yet Trinity college are still charging full price to unsuspecting visitors and don't seem to care what you think! I felt scammed.
Written 13 November 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Mercedes O
Glasgow, UK15 contributions
Nov 2023 • Family
The Long Room at the Old Library is stunning despite the shelves being currently empty (due to restoration work). The visit included a well-organised and enjoyable exhibition about the Book of Kells. The audio guide contains interesting and short interventions.
The reservation system on the official website (Trinity College) works perfectly.
Written 13 November 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Kayla C
4 contributions
Nov 2023 • Solo
Richard was amazing ! He answered all my questions even about things to do in Dublin ! Traveling alone this was a great tour to meet people ! A lot of the books are gone due to them digitizing them but still beautiful library !
Written 12 November 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Colleen B
Seattle, WA33 contributions
Oct 2023 • Family
The Book of Kells exhibit was really well put together. Lots of information and images! The space was a little cramped & uncomfortable, especially packed with people.
The actual book was kept in a small dark room. It was lovely but also a bit of a let down.
The Old Library was impressive, even without the books.
Written 11 November 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Aussie traveller
13 contributions
Oct 2023 • Couples
The Book of Kells is one of those things you must try to see if possible. The crowds are enormous but the demand to see it is clearly enormous too. The team warned us in advance that the books had been taken from the shelves in the library for care but they still left some so that we got a reasonable idea of what it would be like when fully stocked.
Written 10 November 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

William F
Denver, CO653 contributions
Oct 2023 • Solo
Was one of the highlights for me in Dublin. The book of Kells was interesting but not a scholar so moved on quickly to the Old Library and all I can say is wow, just spectacular and they take reservations so not overly crowded. The cost is a tad steep, but would do it again just to soak up the atmosphere of the old libary.
Written 9 November 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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THE BOOK OF KELLS & OLD LIBRARY: All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (with Photos)

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