Destination Europe UK

A visit to the Old Library at Trinity College, Dublin with Kids

Posted on
April 2, 2019

When we decided to spend a day in Dublin during our Northern Ireland break, there were two places on our must visit list – Guinness Storehouse and Trinity College.

Trinity College, despite its name, is actually a university set right in the heart of Dublin city centre.

Visiting a university isn’t your typical destination for a day out, however, Trinity College is home to the Old Library and the Book of Kells – Ireland’s greatest cultural treasure and the world’s most famous medieval manuscript.

Visits to Trinity College are so popular that the university have started running tours which encompass the four major squares of the College.

The tour provides visitors with an insight into the more than four-hundred-year history of the College, its buildings and their use, its traditions and its life today and it is advisable to visit early as they only run until mid-afternoon.

You don’t have to take an official tour to visit the Old Library and the Book of Kells “Turning Darkness into Light” exhibition and simply enter through the library shop.

I have to admit that the kids were not interested by the Book of Kells exhibition, mainly because it was so busy that they could not get to see many of the displays which feature enlarge images of the 9th century manuscript.

The actual Book of Kells, an ornately decorated copy of the four Gospels of the life of Jesus, is on display in the Long Room, one of the world’s most beautiful libraries that houses 200,000 of Trinity College’s oldest books and that “old book” smell really hits you as you walk through the door.

Marble busts of the great philosophers and writers of the western world line the Long Room, which just adds to the history of the room.

The library is also home to one of the oldest Harps of its kind in Ireland which probably dates from the 15th century. It is made of oak and willow with 29 brass strings and is the model for the emblem of Ireland.

Like the Book of Kells exhibition, the Old Library is an extremely popular tourist destination and we could not get near the tour guides to hear what they were saying, however, you are free to explore the 65 metre room unaccompanied.

It is also rumoured that the Jedi archives of the Jedi Temple in the movie Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones were based on the Long Room of the Trinity College Library, which the boys were most excited by.

Entry to the Book of Kells exhibition and the Old Library is €14 for adults and under 12’s are free.

A combined ticket for a guided tour of Trinity College Dublin and the cost of admission to the Book of Kells and Old Library Exhibition costs €15.00 per person or €30 for the family.

  1. Reply

    Treasure Every Moment

    April 2, 2019

    Like you say, a university wouldn’t be my first thought for a day out with children but The Old Library at Trinity College looks incredible. There’s clearly so much history there 🙂

  2. Reply

    What Mum Loves

    April 2, 2019

    Just added the Old Library to my travel wish list. Your kids are phenomenal models! 🙂

  3. Reply

    Sarah Bailey

    April 2, 2019

    What an absolutely stunning library! I have never been to Dublin it is somewhere I would love to go one day though so I will 100% have to make sure I visit the Old library – just looking at those books in cases would have me interested all day!

  4. Reply


    April 2, 2019

    What a beautiful building and one with so many books just draws me in, definitely somewhere I would want to add to my list of places to visit if I ever went to Dublin x

  5. Reply


    April 2, 2019

    This takes me back to December when we went to a Dublin. It sure is so beautiful right? The college has beautiful architecture. We didn’t manage to go inside. The guiness tour was a lot of fun and I sure did enjoy my first pint

  6. Reply

    Rebecca Smith

    April 2, 2019

    Wow, what a beautiful building. This is definitely somewhere I’d love to visit if I was ever in Dublin.

  7. Reply


    April 2, 2019

    This is a lovely building. The kids would love to explore this place.

  8. Reply

    Laura - Dear Bear and Beany

    April 3, 2019

    What a beautiful building. This would be on my list too, if we go to Dublin.

  9. Reply

    Katherine Hackworthy

    April 3, 2019

    Your trip certainly sounds worth while, what a wonderful place to visit. Trinity college sounds fascinating and somewhere I would love to spend hours.

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    April 3, 2019

    Gosh, what a beautiful place. I’ve not been to Dublin yet. It’s now firmly on my list!

  11. Reply

    Helen Clark

    April 4, 2019

    I would love to visit the Old Library, I can just imagine the book smell there. Whenever I’ve been to Dublin though it’s been on hen-do type weekends and not much touristy things get done!

  12. Reply


    April 4, 2019

    Oh my son would love this as it’s full of History and things to learn

  13. Reply

    Cath - Passports and Adventures

    April 5, 2019

    I’m ashamed to say that despite being from Dublin and spending many a day doing research in the library of the Science department I have yet to visit the Old Library or see The Book of Kells. I’m definitely going to change that.

  14. Reply

    Laura Dove

    April 5, 2019

    Wow what a stunning library that is! I love old buildings like this.

  15. Reply


    April 7, 2019

    I wanted to visit Trinity College when I visited Dublin but didn’t have time. Need to check it out.

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Are we nearly there yet? is a new online blog run by me, Kara Guppy, and is named as such thanks to my daughter Eliza who always asks that very question when we are less than 5 minutes up the road heading off on our adventures. You may know me from my other family blog