Trinity College Tours and Stay

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Trinity College Accommodation

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

It is a summer season and a three-month university break now for students. Most of the rooms in the campus are vacant and visitors are able to stay here. Yet, it is very hard to get a room due to high demand.

Upon arrival at Trinity College, I make my way to the Accommodation Office for check-in. I was approached by their friendly staff and all things are settled quickly. All they need to check are my passport and my booking confirmation. The hostel is quite a distance with about 25 minutes walk because it is situated at the end of the college and carrying my backpack. I also take some time and eventually find the building and its entrance, thanks to the help of the students and the security guard.

The room is pretty small, cozy and comes with its own private bathroom. They provide a pillow with clean linen, blanket, bath towels, shampoo and soap. I see some cafes and bars right across the street, which will be a convenience for students and guests living here. I think the room rate of €70 per night is very decent, consider them providing such good amenities.

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Right here is the common area that is located outside the room and is shared among others on the same floor. Guests can use their fridge to store food, cook meals, chill and have their meals here as well. The entire place is well kept. This reminds me of the earlier days in university which I missed the most.

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Common Area

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Guests can choose to stay at their 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.

 

Trinity College Library

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The Long Room

After early morning check-out from Goldsmith Hall, I make my way to Trinity College Library. This largest library in Ireland houses the biggest collection of manuscripts and printed books in Ireland. Since 1801, it had 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 to the design of Thomas Burgh.

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As you enter the entrance from 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 were kept here as part of their collections.

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

When The Old Library was 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 had been outdated and the current students who do their academic researches are using a new library in the campus. You will also notice that the books were not arranged according to authors, publishers or book titles. Instead, they are sorted by the books’ sizes 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 are placed down at 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.

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The Brian Boru harp located near the exit of The Old Library is the oldest to survive from Ireland and it probably dated 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, used 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 explain the history of the whole college.

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Parliament Square

The guided tours run very frequently and take about 45 minutes. So, I manage to buy the ticket on the spot. We start off 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.

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A few steps ahead is the statue of Prof George Salmon, an influential Irish mathematician and Anglican theologian. He has 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.

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We walked pass other compounds 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.

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Red Building
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Sphere Within Sphere

We ended our tour right in front of Berkeley Library and standing right outside of the library is 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

  1. You can purchase tickets for the guided tours in the campus and The Old Library in advance to avoid any ticket sold-out on a particular date or time.
  2. The best time to visit the campus is in the morning or late evening to avoid the crowds and enjoy discount during the off-peak time.
  3. It is advisable to take the campus guided tour before visiting The Old Library. The student guide will give a brief  history of the old library and you will know the insight beforehand.
  4. Remember to switch your camera to non-flash. It will help to preserve the old books and the building.
  5. Photography are now allowed in the Treasury The Book of Kells.

 

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