Ever since I was young, I have been obsessed with books. I had a wild imagination (hmm, maybe not much has changed!) and I would devour book upon book, staying late up into the night, hidden under my duvet with a small light. Sometimes I would read a whole book in a day, and the next day another whole new book and so on and so forth. I was always wandering down to the small local lubrary with my backpack to rummage through the shelves and take a stack of battered pages home with me.
When I first watched Disney’s ‘Beauty and the Beast’ the thing that caught my attention the most wasn’t Belle, Gaston, the Beast or the taling furniture – it was the library. My eyes lit up with wonder when Belle sang and danced aroudn the shelves of books, sliding along on the ladder picking through hundreds of tomes at her disposal, and boy, was I jealous.
So when we visited The Long Room at Trinity College in Dublin, although I was in total awe, standing surrounded by towering bookshelves with tantalising spines beckoning me to read them – I was also bitterly dissapointed by the fact that they were roped off with a corded rope and I could neither touch them nor climb the ladders and have my very own Beauty and the Beast moment. But the smell was incredible, with the dark earthy tones of the wooden shelves and the scent of old pages of aged paper.
Trinity College is a a prestigious university, considered perhaps the best in Ireland and among some of the most elite throughout Europe. It was founded in 1592 with The Long Room not being built until some time between 1712 and 1732; housing not only precious, rare, and very old books, but also row upon row of marble busts of famous writers and philosophers connected to the college.
Trinity College also houses the famous ‘Book Of Kells’ – a religious tome that contains the gospels of the new testament, written and illustrated some time in the 9th Century. The extravagent artwork is really quite remarkable, especialy in the exhibit when you see how rare some of the colours were and how they were made. Unfrotunately, photographs were strictly prohibited.
We wandered out into the courtyard in the late afternoon light and watched the students move between classes. Some parts of the college, without the students casually strolling around in their jeans and converse trainers, could easily lend you the feeling of being in another era.
Trinity College is a very beautiful and historic building in Dublin which is well worth the visit if you get the opportunity.