|Long Room at Trinity College Dublin|
One of the things I had been looking forward to prior to my trip to Ireland was visiting Trinity College Dublin and the Book of Kells exhibit there. The Trinity College campus is beautiful and many of the residences and classroom buildings are great examples of the preservation of built heritage in Dublin. For example, the Old Library building which houses the Book of Kells exhibit was constructed in the 1800s and much of the interior and exterior remains true to the original construction.
The actual exhibit which leads up to the Book of Kells is fairly interesting. It focuses broadly on the book making process, scribes, material usage and providing context to the 9th century origins of the Book of Kells. Though this information was interesting the layout of the "Turning Light into Darkness" exhibit was confusing and didn't allow for great traffic flow. Considering the popularity of the Book of Kells I was surprised by how small of an exhibit space is devoted to contextualizing the book.
Following the opportunity to look at a page from the Book of Kells, the Book of Armagh, and the Book of Durrow (or similar texts depending on the days rotation) visitors can do up to the Long Room. I enjoyed this part of the visit much more than the actual Book of Kells exhibit. The Long Room is a beautiful old library that houses special collection manuscripts. The Long Room also includes a number of display cases featuring examples from the Trinity College archival collection.
During the time of my visit the Long Room also included the temporary exhibit, "Preservation & Conservation: What's That?" The the public historian and archivist in me loved the fact that these educational panels which explained essential components of the field were on display. The exhibit explained historical photograph treatments, book bindings, the difference between preservation and conservation, and what type of education you need to enter this field.
Overall, I enjoyed the visit to Trinity College but the Book of Kells exhibit and display was probably my least favourite part of the experience. The Long Room and the campus grounds were far less crowded and much more enjoyable.