Walking around the campus of Trinity College, I was struck by the history that surrounded me. Founded in 1592 by an order of the English Monarchy, it was modeled after Oxford and Cambridge Universities in England. Trinity’s history almost mirrors that of Ireland’s in terms of Catholic discrimination of Catholics. While Catholics attended the college after 1793, their admittance to the college was not as open as their Protestant counterparts; most of these restrictions lay in scholarships as well as Catholics getting hired as professors at the college. The college itself is capable of maintaining a quiet collegiate atmosphere despite being in Dublin City Center through the use of the college’s buildings as a sort of barrier for the city life surrounding it. I walked in the older part of the campus, walking past the cafeteria that had been rebuilt at least four different times due to erosion underneath the building, and the ancient dorm buildings which face with their backs to College Green. The entire campus encapsulates a different atmosphere than that of the busy streets right next to it; the quiet, academic atmosphere provided a reprieve from the bustling streets of Dublin that one usually associates with a capitol city.
The tour then concluded in front of the Trinity Library, where the Book of Kells currently resides. Meandering through the library, past the bust sculptures of great minds such as Voltaire, past the millions of volumes behind them. However, the part that I truly went to see was the Book of Kells exhibit. I almost could not fathom the age of the book as it sat before me, at least 1200 years old and yet if not for the pane of glass, I could reach out and touch it. The brilliant gilded pages that sat before me seemed like they could not be that old and yet retain the brilliant and awe inspiring power that it did in me. Yet, it is that old, and it did.