tourist againDublin-TCD, Fall 2009
With three papers turned in, one in the final editing phase , the last in the beginnings of research, and the countdown to home in the single digits, I’ve gone into tourist mode again. Anna warned me before she left that time would run out quickly to do all those things I had planned on doing the entire semester. Well she was right. So today I decided to visit the Book of Kells. This tourist attraction is conveniently located right on Trinity’s Campus and is free to students of the College. Most of my roommates have visited it already, some more than once. But then again, they’ve all had visitors to show it to as well. I knew it wasn’t going anywhere so there was no rush to see it – until now.
The Book of Kells is an illuminated manuscript of the four Gospels in Latin. The calligraphy of the pages was embellished by the scribes who wrote it centuries ago. It’s very intricate in design and almost no space on any of the pages is left without some attention. I was able to have a few courses on the designs in the Book of Kells in my introductory classes in August and September and we discussed the interlacing of some of the designs, the significance of the celtic animals and the fancy Greek letters. Most of this same information is highlighted in the excellent museum display that comes before going in to see the actual book.
In order to get to the book, you need to go into Trinity’s Gift and Souvenir shop to buy your tickets. I get to flash my green ID card and get in for free – which is nice, especially when they decide to do “maintenance” on the display, which of course they decided to do the one week I’m ready to see it. Turns out the Book of Kells is not available to see until Saturday but you can still see the exhibit on illuminated manuscripts and the Old Library which contains a facsimile of the original. Since it was all free and I had time to kill I went to both exhibits and will definitely make it back again next week to see that book.
My favourite part of the exhibit was definitely the Long Room or the Old Library. (Click for quick photo) Remember my complain-y post about Trinity’s library situation? Well, if this had been my library, I wouldn’t have any complaints. It’s absolutely beautiful and smells like old books. When your each the top of the stairs to enter the Long Room, the architecture overwhelms you. The room is very pleasing to the eye and runs 210 feet from one end to the other. At the end of each row of books, there are marble busts of the likes of Shakespeare, Plato, Socrates and other great scholars. I feel like studying in there presence would definitely yield more scholarly work. Students actually used to study in here amongst the 200,000 antiquarian texts, until the new “modern” library was built.
The Old Library is quite antiquated, completed in 1732 but has managed to find its way into pop culture. In the early part of this millennium, Episode II: Attack of the Clones sparked some controversy with Trinity. Trinity accused Lucas Films of copying the design of their library for the use of the Jedi Archives in the film. Trinity had its legal team look into the situation and considered suing but representatives for Lucas Films said there was no connection in their design to Trinity’s. Coincidence then? You Decide: Click Here
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