Ireland’s prestigious academic institution, Trinity College sits in Dublin’s city center and boasts alumni including esteemed literary legends such as Oscar Wilde, Bram Stoker, and Samuel Beckett. Founded by Queen Elizabeth I in 1592 for the exclusive use of Protestant men, the university now welcomes all religions and genders. Tourists from the world over come to wander the historic cobblestoned campus and see the Book of Kells, a prized medieval manuscript housed in the Trinity College Library.
With its handsome Georgian and classical architecture, the Trinity College campus is a must-see for visitors to the Irish capital. Sightseers can tour the grounds independently or join a guided tour. Most walking tours of Dublin city center include Trinity College, along with other neighboring landmarks, such as the General Post Office (GPO), the Molly Malone Statue, and Dublin Castle. The campus is home to several standalone attractions including Dublin’s Science Gallery and the Zoological Museum, though the biggest crowd-pleaser is the Book of Kells in the Old Library, visitable for a small fee.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Much of Trinity’s campus is cobblestoned, so avoid wearing heels that may get caught in the crevices.
- Lines of travelers looking to see the elaborate rows of books frequently form outside the Old Library. Book an entrance ticket in advance to skip the line, or sign up for an early-access guided tour to see the Book of Kells without the crowd.
- As a large portion of the campus is open-air, bring an umbrella and waterproof layer in case of rain.
How to Get There
Trinity College is south of Dublin city center, near pedestrian-only Grafton Street. Take the Luas Green Line tram to Stephen’s Green, the Luas Red Line tram to Abbey Street, or the DART train to Dublin Pearse station. From all three, the walk to campus is less than 10 minutes.
When to Get There
Go early in the morning or in late afternoon to avoid the midday rush. If you plan on seeing the Book of Kells, buy a Trinity College Library ticket in advance or be prepared to wait in line. Student-led, 30-minute campus tours, which depart from the Main Gate, are available in summer.
View the Book of Kells
Trinity’s headline attraction is the illustrated ninth-century manuscript known as the Book of Kells. The illuminated manuscript of the four gospels was created by Irish monks, who painstakingly covered each page in elaborate and colorful Celtic-inspired imagery. Four pages from two volumes of the book are displayed in glass cabinets at Trinity College’s Old Library, which also contains an exhibition chronicling its creation and storied history.