Trip Planner: Europe / Ireland / Province of Leinster / County Dublin / Dublin / The Book of Kells and the Old Library Exhibition
One of Ireland's major cultural and artistic treasures, The Book of Kells and the Old Library Exhibition counts among the oldest texts in the world, dated to the 9th century. This illuminated manuscript contains the four gospels of the Bible's New Testament and other sacred texts, written in Latin by Celtic monks. Despite the importance of its written sections, the book's main appeal lies in its illustrations, remarkable because of the artistry and attention to detail achieved by their creators. The intricately decorated pages feature vibrant colors and complex decorative patterns, painstakingly hand-drawn to enhance each section of text. You can see several pages of both illustrations and text at Ireland's largest library, which has displayed this historical book since the 19th century. For travelers who use our international travel planner, Dublin holidays become easier to arrange, with trips to the The Book of Kells and the Old Library Exhibition and other attractions mapped out and timetabled.
Tours To The Book of Kells and the Old Library Exhibition
Fast-track Easy Access Book of Kells Tour with Dublin Castle BOOK WITH VIATOR FROM $50
Duration: 2 hours 30 minutes
Dublin Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour BOOK WITH VIATOR FROM $25
Duration: 2 hours
Big Bus Dublin Open-top, Hop-on Hop-off Sightseeing Tour BOOK WITH VIATOR FROM $22
Duration: 2 hours 25 minutes
The Book of Kells and the Old Library Exhibition Reviews
I deed amazing that in the 3rd and 10th century artists were able to create such detailed illustrations. They even fit well in the 21th century concept of visual art. more »
Walking up the stairs into the dark and quiet of the old library almost takes your breath away. It's amazing room full of old books (obviously) ladders and a spiral staircase. The atmosphere is quiet.... more »
One of the busiest attractions in Dublin so I would suggest starting as early as possible. It was quiet for the first half hour whilst we looked at the exhibition element which has a lot of detailed boards to read but after that the school parties started arriving and it gets more frustrating if you want to read things or look up close. By the time you get to the book itself there is a degree of anti-climax because you aren't going to get much time on a busy day. Also there are only 2 versions on display so you will only see two pages and in very low light. Our hotel had a beautiful colour version on display which was actually a lot more enjoyable to look through at leisure. After this you will go upstairs to the Long Room of the old library at Trinity and this is really wonderful. It's all old wood, leather bound books, ladders and shelves leading up to the sky. This amazing antiquarian library was the inspiration for the Jedi library and feels like a Harry Potter film set. Obviously the books can't be reached but a selection of key texts, many of them anatomy or medical, are open in display cases. Really interesting to see the hand drawn and coloured illustrations and diagrams. As this is the end of the tour the crowds tend to dawdle here so it really is hard to get a decent photo. Nonetheless, it is a really atmospheric finish. Others have said this is an expensive exhibition but there is a lot of information and much to learn if you have the inclination.
The Book of Kells is filled with history. The room upstairs was beautiful and we were lucky to see them repairing some of the floor from who knows what year. Only gave a 4/5 because I'm not sure its worth the price of admission. I'd still tell you to see it because its worth seeing once.
Places to stay near The Book of Kells and the Old Library Exhibition
Plan your trip to Dublin
Get a personalized planA complete day-by-day itinerary
based on your preferences
Customize itRefine your plan. We'll find the
best routes and schedules
Book itChoose from the best hotels
and activities. Up to 50% off
Manage itEverything in one place.
Everyone on the same page.
See all ›
See all ›
See all ›
Hidden gems in Dublin
See all ›
Nearby attractions in Dublin
Plans to The Book of Kells and the Old Library Exhibition by other users
22 days in United Kingdom, Switzerland & Dublin BY FRITZGUIDE April, popular sights PREFERENCES: April ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular sights PACE: Medium 23 days in Scotland & Ireland BY A USER FROM THAILAND April, popular sights PREFERENCES: April ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular sights PACE: Medium 5 days in Ireland BY A USER FROM INDIA September, popular sights PREFERENCES: September ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular sights PACE: Medium 8 days in Ireland BY A USER FROM SOUTH AFRICA July, popular sights PREFERENCES: July ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular sights PACE: Medium 32 days in Europe BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES May, popular sights PREFERENCES: May ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular sights PACE: Medium 6 days in Ireland BY A USER FROM AUSTRALIA April, popular sights PREFERENCES: April ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular sights PACE: Medium