The Long Room at Trinity College, Dublin

There are many reasons that Ireland stole my heart during my first visit to the Emerald Isle, and one of those is definitely the fact that it’s home to one of the most beautiful libraries in the world.

The Long Room in Trinity College — located square in the middle of the city, conveniently close to the Temple Bar district, St. Stephen’s Green, and the River Liffey — is a jewel tucked away in the library of the college itself, which houses the renowned Book of Kells.

The library building itself doesn’t look remarkably imposing from the outside, and the gift shop that serves as the entrance lobby can definitely chip away at the grandeur,  but the Long Room made it all worthwhile.

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It’s actually a lot smaller than it seems — the walkway is narrow and the grand barrel-like ceiling is nearer to the ground that the pictures portray — but that almost makes the room even more stunning.

According to the college’s website, when the room was first constructed it had a flat roof and only one level, but soon the university ran out of room for their growing collection of books and added another level, replacing the plaster ceiling with the now-famous imposing barrel one.

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The dark room was awash with sunlight from the many windows at either side, and the stark white of the busts was a gorgeous contrast to the deep tones of the wood.

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Some of the nooks had spiral staircases leading to the levels above, where you could hear the rhythmic rustling of university scholars and staff turning the pages of thick, dusty books. Others had stout bookcases for extra storage that seemed almost tomb-like to house the 200,000 ancient books in the library’s collection.

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One thing’s for certain, the Dublin sun filtered through the dusty film covering the windows made the whole library dream-like and provided a stunning backdrop for moody portraits.

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The Long Room was absolutely breathtaking, and it broke my book-loving heart to leave, but other adventures in the city awaited us and it was time to say goodbye.

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Have you been to the Long Room in Trinity College? If not, what’s the most beautiful library you’ve ever visited/want to visit? Leave a comment down below!

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