Ireland: Libraries of Dublin

I’m still marching on with recaps of our Ireland trip.  The trip that happened *ahem* over a year ago.

Ridiculously drawn out, right? Yes, but I really want to have the whole experience documented.  I should set a goal to finish this recap series before the end of the year. I’m gonna go for it!

Here are the previous posts if you’re catching up:

First Days

Blarney and the Wicklow Mountains

Powerscourt and Getting Into Dublin

Dublin’s Kilmainham, Guinness, and Jameson

October 4, 2012

After a very packed day exploring Dublin — visiting the historic jail and fun museums — we spent another night in our Temple Bar hotel.  We woke up ready to fit in a few more hours of sightseeing before leaving town.



First on the agenda? Exchanging money.  We let the serious bankers in the family handle this one.  As you can see, they meant business.


Next on our agenda was visiting Trinity College and the Book of Kells.  The college campus was incredibly pretty.  Can you imagine taking classes in buildings like these?


We made our way to the library and the Book of Kells exhibit.  Early on, the Book of Kells was on our must-see list because it is one of Ireland’s most famous treasures.  The book contains the four Gospels and was created by Celtic monks over the course of 250 years.  The intricacy of the illustrations and calligraphy make it one of the most precious illuminated manuscripts in the world.

We got to ogle the few pages that were open to the public and then climbed the stairs to my favorite part of our visit to Trinity College — the stunningly beautiful main chamber of the library.

Dublin's Trinity  College LibrarySource

I loved this room so much.  There was no pictures allowed which meant you just soaked in the environment — dusty old books, rich woodwork, and those awesome rolling ladders.  We ambled slowly down the long room — which is called the “Long Room.”

(If you like beautiful libraries, here’s a round up of many others from around the world.)

Next, we walked to Dublin Castle.  We didn’t go inside (saving some time and money) but it was cool to see it in the middle of a bustling city.


Right behind the castle, we found Chester Beatty Library.  I had read in many guide books that this library was well-worth a visit because of the free admission and crazy-huge collection of paintings, drawings, artwork, and books.

The collection was very diverse and had pieces from all over the world and from many time periods.  It was almost overwhelming how much there was to see.

I have to admit that during this stop I started feeling a slight case of “Museum Overload.”

The causes:

  • Too much learning on too many tiny plaques
  • Being overwhelmed by the feeling that everything is really old/important/famous
  • Shuffle-stop-shuffle-stop walking (<– also the reason shopping is exhausting!)

The symptoms:

  • Tired eyes, feet, and head
  • I-don’t-care-anymore attitude

I hope I’m not the only one who gets “Museum Overload.”  I think it’s all about powering through and realizing you don’t get to see this kind of stuff every day.


Lucky for us, Dublin Castle and the library just happened to be right across from the Queen of Tarts.  We stopped in for round two of coffee and delicious pastries.



After all our stops, we finally were ready to leave.  Our train ride from Dublin snaked along the Irish Sea and brought us back to Bray.  We took some pictures by the sea to document our coast to coast journey.



We were so so happy to visit Dublin.  The city is packed with history and beautiful sites. I learned so much and really connected with the stories of the Irish war for independence.

Still, after a couple of days, we were ready to leave.  Our time in the city was a little hurried and busy.  We packed a lot of sight-seeing into the days – and did it all on foot!

The city had such a different energy than the other parts of Ireland we had seen so far.  Not surprisingly for a big city, we noticed that the Irish people we met weren’t quite as warm and friendly as we had experienced in the smaller Irish towns.

When we got back to Bray, we found our car (safe and sound, thank goodness) and set off.  We had the whole country to cross so that we could see family the next day.  On to Castlebar to reunite with another McAlpine family!


One thought on “Ireland: Libraries of Dublin

  1. Pingback: Ireland: Meeting Family | In The Mixing Bowl

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