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?
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!