Thursday, October 25, 2012

Trinity College and Book of Kells!

Trinity College a has LONG history. It was founded by Queen Elizabeth I to "civilize" (her word) Dublin in 1592. Of course, Catholic-Protestant problems began in the United Kingdom with the insistence of Henry VIII that he be the head of the Church.  The Irish did not feel the same way and Trinity was founded to establish a Protestant educated male citizenry. Only Protestant males were permitted to attend and Irish Catholics were not allowed to send their sons out of the country for a university education?  What was Elizabeth's goal here?

Women were admitted to Trinity in 1903, but Catholics were only given formal permission by the Catholic Church to study at Trinity in the 1960s and 1970s.  They were allowed admission by the College much earlier than that, but had to have a dispensation from their bishop to attend. Who were some famous Trinity alumni?

Trinity has expanded in size over the years, so that it now covers about 40 acres and there is quite a mix of architecture, although the main part of the existing College was built in the 18th and 19th centuries. One of these areas is the Old Library which houses Ireland's largest collection of books and manuscripts. Since 1801, the colleges has received a copy of every book published in Britain and Ireland.  What institution in the U.S. receives a copy of every book published in the U.S.?

The main library room is called the Long Room and absolutely takes your breath away!  You expect to see Harry Potter and friends coming from the stacks. The room is 231 feet long, 42 feet wide and staked floor to ceiling with 200,000 volumes, most of which have come from donations. I talked with one of the guards there and he told me that the books were still used for research and that anyone could apply for a research card in order to use them.  There was also a wonderful exhibition called Drawn to the Page which featured Irish artists and illustration from 1830-1930. The purpose of the exhibition is to show "how artists related creatively and sympathetically to the printed word, increasing the reader's pleasure and understand by visualizing episodes in the text or by supplying decorative elements..."

I've saved the best treasure (in my opinion) for last and that is the Book of Kells. This illuminated manuscript from the 9th century just defied adjectives! The intricate detail and the bright colors that remain after so many centuries is astounding-especially when you consider all that happened in Ireland over the centuries.  Even on the huge enlargements, that are on the walls, the detailing is just unbelievable! Ireland didn't go through a Dark Ages, as most of Europe did and the work from this time is worth a trip to Dublin.  The exhibit also included the Book of Armagh, which is a 9th century copy of the New Testament and the Book of Durrow, a 7th century Gospel book.  Only two of the four manuscripts from the Book of Kells are exhibited-one with illustrated text and one with pictures and designs. It was composed on vellum--what is that??

We were fortunate enough to attend without a huge crowd, so could spend lots of time looking at everything, which was a treat! We had a great afternoon of art and history, then came back to the hotel to SLEEP! We have lots more adventures planned!


Karyn said...

Enjoying the blog and photos!

Susan Santoli said...

So glad!

Brittney Phinisee said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Brittney Phinisee said...

Thanks you Dr. Vitulli for sharing the history of every picture in your post. You describe each picture with so much detail I felt as if I were there. To answer your question number one, "What was Elizabeth's goal here?" Elizabeth founded Trinity College because she wanted the Protestant men to have a better education. Author, Jonathon Swift; former president of Ireland, Mary Robinson and journalist, Robert Fisch are some of the alumni from Trinity College. Vellum is calfskin; however, the second question I am still looking for and will post when I find it. I truly enjoyed your post, and I hope you and Dr. Santoli are enjoying the adventure. What aspects do you wish to teach the future educators in the United States from you experience in Ireland?

Susan Santoli said...

Brittany, you are correct with your other answers. I think it connects us as nations and I think if gives us a much larger perspective of what we do!!

Paul Bedsole said...

Hi Dr. Santolli,
I really enjoyed your historical blog about Trinity College! I have traveled extensively and I love to visit places like this that are steeped in history! I haven't been to Ireland so thanks for sharing! I just wanted to briefly answer the questions you left in your blog. Queen Elizabeth I founded Trinity College to consolidate the Tudor rule and promote the protestant faith in Ireland. Trinity College's famous alumni include; Jonathan Swift, author of Gulliver's travels; Ernest Walton, Nobel prize winner for his work with atoms, and Samuel Beckett, Nobel prize winner in literature. The Library of Congress receives two copies of every book published in the U.S. Vellum is finely worked leather made from calf skin. Just curious, but what has been your favorite part of the convention so far?

Anna Faggard said...

Thank you Dr. Vitulli for sharing the history and the pictures.I really enjoyed reading about the history of Trinity college. The only place outside of the United States that I have been is Halifax, Nova Scotia. I would love to travel to places like England and Ireland. Thank you again for the wonderful post with pictures.
Anna Faggard

Paige Vitulli said...

Dr. Santoli is not only a fabulous travel partner, but posses a wealth of knowledge. As I travel with her, I have my own personal historian who can provide me with the history of almost any place we go! She has written most of the historical background information in this blog and I am the "photo journalist."

Excellent question Brittney. Experiences like this remind me of what a vast beautiful world we live in and how good people are everywhere. I'm reminded that we have more in common across the world than I anticipate. I respect the humble feeling of being lost and using my problem solving skills to navigate each day in a foreign land. I am reminded of what it feels like to spend the majority of my time being a learner and wanting to retain all that I hear.