The Book of Kells Tours

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Dating back to AD 800, the illuminated manuscript known as the Book of Kells is renowned for its extraordinary illustrations and ornamentations. Its intricate drawings incorporating Celtic and Christian traditions are a testament to the incredible craftsmanship of the medieval Irish monks believed to have created it while on the remote island of Iona in Scotland. Despite Viking raids, theft, and fights between various Irish and English factions, 680 astonishingly detailed vellum (calf-skin) pages of the book remain intact.

The Basics
The manuscript, which tells the story of the gospels across four volumes, is on view at Trinity College’s magnificent, 18th-century Old Library. To ensure conservation, two volumes are displayed at a time, allowing visitors to view four pages during any one visit. Before viewing the book, visitors pass through an exhibition that explains the significance and importance of the manuscript and touches upon the story of its near miraculous survival. A ticket to the Book of Kells includes access to the Trinity College Library’s Long Room, where you’ll find an original copy of the 1916 Proclamation of the Irish Republic and a medieval harp. Visitors can combine a tour here with a visit to nearby Dublin Castle.
 
Things to Know Before You Go
  • The Book of Kells is popular and long lines can form. Buy a ticket in advance to avoid waiting around to get inside.
  • Explore independently or sign up for a guided early-access tour to skip the queue and inspect the manuscript without the crowds.
  • The Old Library is wheelchair accessible.
 
How to Get There
Trinity College is located on the south side of Dublin city center, at the northern end of Grafton Street. Take the Luas Red line to Abbey Street, the Luas Green Line to Stephen’s Green, or the DART train to Pearse Station. Find the library entrance adjacent to Fellow’s Square, opposite the Arts Building. 
 
When to Get There
The Book of Kells site is open daily with varying hours by season (May to September: Monday to Saturday 8:30am to 5pm and Sunday 9:30am to 5pm; October to April: Monday to Saturday 9:30am to 5pm and Sunday noon to 4:30pm). The book is a major Dublin attraction and attracts many travelers, particularly during summer. Visit in the morning or later in the afternoon to avoid the biggest crowds.
 
Inside the Medieval Manuscript
The manuscript’s pages are filled with colorful, elaborate drawings. Some are adorned with swirling Celtic knots, while others are covered with drawings of animals such as lions, snakes, and peacocks, as well as mythical beasts and human figures. Among the most famous pages of the medieval manuscript is the one known as Chi Rho, which is said to signify Christ.
Location
Address: Trinity College Dublin, College Green, Dublin 2, Ireland
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Hours: Library open daily 9:30am - 5pm, winter Sundays until 4:30pm
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Admission: Select attractions and tours may have fees
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2 Tours & Activities to Experience

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Book of Kells Early Access Tour with Dublin Castle

Avoid the crowds and explore Irish history in peace on this 2.5-hour Book of Kells and Dublin Castle exterior tour. Visit the Trinity College Library, home to the famous Book of Kells — widely considered among the most important of all Ireland’s ancient treasures. Listen as your guide brings medieval Ireland to life, shedding light on the Book of Kells’ profound historical significance. Afterward, enjoy a guided walking tour around Dublin Castle’s mighty exterior. Visit the gardens and yards, and learn of the castle’s role as court, fortress, treasury and jail.
  • Duration: 2 hours 30 minutes
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US$56,67
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  • Duration: 2 hours 30 minutes
From
US$56,67

Private 4-hour Dublin Tour with a Local Dubliner

It’s easy to explore Dublin’s top attractions on your own, but only a local guide can give you the inside scoop on life in the city. This private 4-hour tour can be completely customised to your preferences, so you can benefit from your guide’s expertise and learn more about Irish culture as you hit the shops, pick up tips for where to eat, drink, or party, and experience the city like a true Dubliner.
  • Duration: 4 hours
From
US$57,89
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  • Duration: 4 hours
From
US$57,89


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