On Saturday, in Dublin, we had the chance to visit Trinity College and see the Book of Kells.
For those of you who aren't familiar, it's a more-than-thousand years old highly illustrated work of the four Gospels that's been preserved all these years. It's shown with parts of two other works of similar age and beauty.
It was amazing.
When we knew we would be coming to Dublin, I really wanted to see this historical treasure, but none of the shore excursions we were offered gave us the flexibility we wanted. Instead, we opted to go off on our own into this beautiful city. It's a city, honestly, that I could see us coming back to and spending more time in.
Although we had been warned that the lines for the Book of Kells were long and we should buy tickets ahead of time (we didn't), that was not our experience. We basically walked right into the beginning exhibits, interesting in their own right, and then into the Book of Kells when we were ready. I suppose in the summer or at holiday times of year it might be a different story, but it worked out well for us.
The illustration in this ancient manuscript is amazing, and well worth the cost of admission (E 11-14 depending on your age and category). I'm grateful to have been able to see it, but the real attraction for me was the Long Room, above the Book of Kells, which is part of the Trinity College Library that holds old books, and, in a separate section, old manuscripts (not available for public viewing) that I understand include some from ancient Egypt.
After seeing the Book, you exit via this library – and it was amazing. I talked to one of the librarians, Mr. Calloway, and he told me how people access the books, about the collection, and actually let me through the ropes to touch one of the books (gently). It was the highlight of the tour for me!
We also had tea in Dublin at Bewley's Tea Room – since I've been a fan of Bewley's tea in the States for years, this was a treat, and I had a “sticky bun” there – very different than our central Pennsylvania ones! This one was basically a raisin bun, and delicious.
Dublin was fun and lovely, and I can't wait to return.