Some places just have that magic feeling about them – they seem filled with dreams and history, you can almost feel anything is possible, and you can hear the chattering voices discussing ideas and changing the world. Trinity College in Dublin is like that. In terms of universities, it’s legendary.
It was founded in 1592 with a charter from Queen Elizabeth I, who was strategically hoping that it would endear the Tudor monarchy to the Irish people and make them support her Protestant rule of the country. But after 1793, Catholics were also allowed to attend the university – a progressive move in such a divided country.
Since then, the university has grown into a huge complex of gracious buildings and squares – it’s easy to get lost when you’re wandering around, but you don’t really care because it’s all so gorgeous. Originally outside the city walls, Trinity College is now a feature of central Dublin, occupying 47 acres (19 hectares).
One of the best-known parts is the library, the largest research library in Ireland. Like the British Library is for the UK, Trinity College it is the official legal repository for books published in Ireland and Great Britain so it contains a copy of every book published in those lands – amazing. It also, of course, holds the famous Book of Kells, one of Ireland’s leading tourist attractions. Naturally, this means there’s an entry price, and at busy times the queueing might take half an hour or so. You can also do a tour of the whole university campus including The Book of Kells.