Trinity College Tour and Stay

During my trip to Dublin in Ireland, I spend my first night in Trinity College student hostel at Goldsmith Hall. It is a great place for me to start because my first-day trip is to visit Trinity College and the famed Library. The hostel is just right next to Pearse Station and near the Science Gallery.

Trinity College Accommodation

It is the summer season when a three-month university break begins. Most of the rooms on the campus are vacant and visitors are able to stay here. Surprisingly, it is very hard to get a room due to high demand.

Guests can choose to stay at the Heritage Ensuite (Single/ Twin), Heritage (Double/ Single), or Goldsmith Hall (Double/ Single). To check on their availability, you can look at their Summer Accommodation website.

Upon arrival at Trinity College, I make my way to the Accommodation Office to check-in. I was approached by their friendly staff and all things are settled quickly. All they need to check are my passport and booking confirmation.

The hostel is quite a distance about 25-minute walk because it is situated at the end of the college and need to carry my backpack along. I also take some time and eventually find the entrance to the hostel, thanks to the help of the students and the security guard.

The room is pretty small and cozy, which comes with its own private bathroom. They provide a pillow with clean linen, blanket, bath towels, shampoo, and body soap. I see some cafes and bars right across the street, which is convenient for students and guests living here. I think the room rate of €70 per night is really value for money since they provide such good amenities.

This is the common area located outside the room and is usually shared among other students on the same floor. For now, guests can use their fridge to store food and cook meals, rest, and have their meals here. The entire place is well kept. This reminds me of the earlier days in my university which I missed the most.

Trinity College Library

The Long Room

Visiting the Trinity College Library is a BIG must during the visit to Dublin. The library is the largest in Ireland that houses the biggest collection of manuscripts and printed books in the country.

Since 1801, it has the right to claim a free copy of all British and Irish publications under the relevant acts and has nearly three million volumes of books placed in a total of eight buildings. The first library was built during the same year Trinity College was established between 1712 and 1732 that was designed by Thomas Burgh.

As you enter the entrance of the Old Library, this is an exhibition area and Library Shop with counters selling the tickets into the library. The display of Irish medieval gospel manuscripts, including the famous Book of Kells, the Book of Armagh, and the Book of Burrow are all kept here as part of their collections.

After taking a view of the Book of Kells, there is a stairway leading to the First Floor towards the main chamber of the Old Library called the Long Room. Its area is about 65 meters in length and houses approximately 200,000 old books.

When The Old Library first built, it had a flat plaster ceiling with shelves for books on the lower level only and an open gallery. In the 1850s, these shelves had become fully occupied. Therefore by 1860, the architects Deane and Woodward were hired to plan the construction of the present barrel-vaulted ceiling and gallery bookcase.

The books displayed here have been outdated and the current students who do their academic research are using a new library. The books were not arranged according to authors, publishers, or book titles. Instead, they are sorted by the size of the books and weight. So, the smallest or lightest books were kept on the top, whereas the big books were put at the bottom of the shelves.

A collection of 14 marble busts is placed down on both sides of the room. The collections started in 1743 with the sculptor Peter Scheemakers, followed by the sculptors of Simon Vierpyl, Patrick Cunningham, John van Nost, and Louis Francois Roubiliac.

The Brian Boru harp located near the exit of The Old Library is the oldest to survive from Ireland and it is believed to be dating back to the 15th century. It was made from oak and willow with brass strings. The harp’s symbol can be found in current Irish coins.

Heads up: If you are a Harry Potter fan and come here for this reason, sorry to disappoint you that none of its movies were filmed here. However, Star Wars: Episode II- Attack of the Clones was filmed here as the Jedi Archives of the Jedi Temple.

If you want to purchase the Book of Kells ticket and avoid a long queue, you can buy them in advance from their website here.

Authenticity Tour

After visiting The Old Library, I return back to Parliament Square to join the campus guided tour. There is a change of plans due to time constraint, although they highly recommend going on this tour before visiting the library where the guides will first explain the history of the whole college.

The guided tours run very frequently and take about 45 minutes. So, I manage to buy the ticket on the spot. The tour starts in front of Front Gate. The buildings on both sides of Parliament Square is The Chapel (left pic) and Examination Hall (right pic).

The chapel was completed in 1798 and designed by architect Sir William Chambers. He began to draw the design on the chapel, but sadly he was fired once his work was done. His works were stolen and used to continue designing the chapel followed by the examination hall. You will notice that both structures were identical. There are daily services of Morning prayer, weekly services of Evensong and Holy Communion on Wednesdays and Sundays.

A few steps ahead is the statue of Prof George Salmon, an influential Irish mathematician and Anglican theologian. He spent his entire career at this college and make a commitment by strongly oppose women to receive degrees from this college. Just after his passing, the first women undergraduates were admitted in 1904.

We walk pass other parts of the complex, including the faculty of Health Science, Humanities, Mathematics, and Engineering. The buildings are pretty old and had been renovated a couple of times.

The number of student intakes is only about 17,000. Applicants are required to take an English examination and pass before being accepted. 85% of the students come from Ireland and other EU countries, 10% from the United States and the remaining 5% from Asia and Australia.

Red Building
Sphere Within Sphere

The tour ended in front of Berkeley Library and outside of the library displays the Sphere Within Sphere. It is a bronze sculpture by Italian sculptor Arnoldo Pomodoro.

After the end of the tour, I kick off my four-days city exploration in Dublin City and one day in Cliffs of Moher.

For more information about their guided tour and ticket purchase, you can visit their website for details.

Travel Tips

  • You can purchase tickets for the guided tours on the campus and The Old Library in advance to avoid any disappointment (Click here for more details)
  • The best time to visit the campus is in the morning or late evening to avoid the crowds and enjoy discounts during the off-peak hour.
  • It is advisable to take the campus guided tour before visiting The Old Library if possible. The student guide will give a brief history of the old library and you will know the insight beforehand.
  • Remember to switch your camera to non-flash. It will help to preserve the old books and the building.
  • Photography is not allowed in the Treasury in the Book of Kells.

Traveling Around in Ireland?

If you are planning a visit Ireland, you can check out some of my other posts:

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