Europe

Visiting the Long Room at Trinity College Library in Dublin

People visit Dublin for all sorts of reasons – to explore the history and architecture in Ireland’s capital, to drink Guinness in its birthplace, and to dress like a leprechaun and celebrate with thousands of other people on St Patrick’s Day among many, many other reasons. Me, I came to see a library. Not just any library, though, one of the most beautiful libraries in the world – the Old Library at Trinity College. And more specifically, the Long Room within the Old Library.

The Long Room at Trinity College Library in Dublin

The Old Library at Trinity College Library

Trinity College Library is the largest library in Ireland, home to a massive collection of something like six million books and manuscripts. To house their ever-growing volume of literary content, several different library buildings have been built on the Trinity College campus over the years, the most visited of which by far (by non-students, anyway) is the Old Library.

Built in the 18th century, the Old Library at Trinity College is one of Ireland’s most popular tourist attractions thanks to its exhibition of the Book of Kells, a 1,200 year old manuscript containing four extravagantly illustrated volumes of the gospels of the New Testament.

Considered to be Ireland’s greatest national treasure, the Book of Kells isn’t the only treasure you’ll find in the Old Library, however. Instead, the highlight for me was getting to see Trinity College Library’s magnificent, library-lust-inducing Long Room.

Read More: 12 Free Things to Do in Dublin + Travel Tips

The Long Room at Trinity College Library in Dublin

Vaulted ceiling and oak-paneled walls inside the Old Library at Trinity College in Dublin

Two stories of bookshelves inside the Long Room at Trinity College Library in Dublin

Bookshelf full of old books inside the Old Library at Trinity College in Dublin Statues lining the hallway of the Long Room at Trinity College Library in Dublin

The Long Room at Trinity College Library

Dark, oak-paneled walls, an elegant vaulted ceiling, two levels of floor to ceiling bookcases containing 200,000 of the library’s oldest and most valuable books – these are the things library dreams are made of. Stretching over two hundred feet in length, the Long Room also features a large collection of marble busts of some of history’s most brilliant philosophers and writers as well as one of the three oldest surviving harps in Ireland.

From a photography standpoint, the Long Room is hard to beat. Like, good luck taking a bad photo in here, because it’s impossible. From a book-lover’s standpoint, you’ll definitely want to move into Dublin’s most beautiful library and never leave.

I was really trying to scale down the amount of images in this post, especially since many are quite similar, but then I realized just like you can never have too many books, you can also never have too many pictures of books and the beautiful libraries they live in. And so, I’ve included a bunch more of my favorite photos from the Long Room for your viewing pleasure below.

Wooden ladder beside bookshelves in the Long Room at Trinity College Library in Dublin

Bust of Sir Isaac Newton inside the Old Library at Trinity College in Dublin

Bookshelves full of old books inside the Long Room at Trinity College Library in Dublin

Wooden ladder beside bookshelves in the Long Room at Trinity College Library in Dublin

Spiral staircase inside the Old Library at Trinity College in Dublin Bust of Plato inside the Long Room at Trinity College Library in Dublin

Bookshelf full of old books inside the Old Library at Trinity College in Dublin

The Long Room at Trinity College Library in Dublin

Practical Information

The Old Library, the Book of Kells exhibition, and the Long Room are open daily to visitors. Current ticket prices and opening hours can be found here. Note: A ticket to see the Book of Kells also gets you into the Long Room.

If crowd-free photos are something you’re hoping for, I suggest purchasing fast-track tickets online in advance and arriving just before opening time so you’ll be one of the first people allowed in. Particularly during peak season, it can get busy in the Old Library very quickly.

If you’re interested in a guided tour of Trinity College with admission to the Old Library included, check out this page here.

For more library inspiration, check out the beautiful Bodleian Library in Oxford (Harry Potter was filmed there!), the vast collection of priceless treasures found in the British Library in London, and the impressive, multi-story art history library at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam!

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The Long Room inside Trinity College Library is the most beautiful library in Dublin. This is also where you can view the Book of Kells, one of Ireland's greatest national treasures. The Long Room inside Trinity College Library is the most beautiful library in Dublin. This is also where you can view the Book of Kells, one of Ireland's greatest national treasures.

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  • Dannielle
    July 5, 2018 at 8:24 AM

    I loved this place too, one of the few things we bothered to pay for! The smell of old book, mmmmm.

    • Sarah Shumate
      July 6, 2018 at 11:54 AM

      It was the only thing we paid to do in Dublin, too. I love how so many things are free there!

      Totally spot on about the smell of old books, too. :)

  • Emma @ Adventures of a London Kiwi
    June 19, 2018 at 1:36 PM

    This is SUCH a beautiful library Sarah! Well worth a repeat trip (and the *cough* hours I spent there!)!!

  • Abhi
    June 19, 2018 at 5:29 AM

    After reading your blog. I will keep eye on your blog. Great Information. Thank you and keep it up..

  • aFabulousTrip
    June 18, 2018 at 4:54 AM

    Honestly I thought the library was nice, but was it really worth it ? I’m not really sure … Like I love to visit museums, but this library felt a little “meh”.

    • Sarah Shumate
      June 18, 2018 at 4:59 AM

      I definitely thought it was worth it. I’ve never been in a more photogenic library. But maybe if you’re not into photography, it’s not as impressive? Such a shame you didn’t enjoy it!