Cultural awakening in Dublin’s incredible libraries

The Irish capital has a proud literary history as RONAN O’CONNELL discovers

The home of Oscar Wilde, Samuel Beckett and W.B. Yeats, Ireland owns a proud literary tradition, with Dublin as its hub. In the downtown area of the Irish capital, this cultural history comes alive in Dublin’s many wonderful libraries.

From the colossal National Library of Ireland, to the gorgeous design of the Long Room at Trinity College, unique offerings of the Chester Beatty Library and dense history of Marsh’s Library, Dublin’s libraries are fascinating.

Long Room (Trinity College)

I never expected the interior of a library to leave me stunned. Yet after walking into the Long Room I stopped and stared for so long that I was admonished for blocking the entry. I wasn’t the only person causing traffic — there were people everywhere scrambling for the best spots to pose for photos, so visually striking is this ancient space inside Dublin’s prestigious Trinity College.

This dimly-lit, 60m-long room is covered in intricate woodwork, with its row after row of bookcases creating a very appealing pattern. Contained on its shelves are more than 200,000 texts, including a copy of every book published in Ireland and the United Kingdom for the past 200 years.

The most important item here is the Book of Kells, a wonderfully ornate Irish religious text which is more than 1200 years old. The other star attraction is a copy of the 1916 Proclamation of the Irish Republic, one of the most significant documents in the nation’s history.

This is an edited version of the original, full-length story, which you can read here.

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