Hello and welcome to this weekend’s virtual walk.
It’s a lovely bright day today and here we are in the very heart of Dublin city, let’s take a stroll through Trinity College.
Trinity is right in the city centre of Dublin, it’s less than a hundred yards from the banks of the river Liffey and even closer to Dublin’s finest street – Grafton street. Before we head in we can take a peek at the provosts house that is located at Grafton Street end – this is one of the best located private homes in Ireland !!!.
So, let’s head through the doorway of the main entrance building and take a walk around the campus.
The college was founded in 1592 by Queen Elizabeth I of England and is Ireland’s oldest university. It is modelled on the classical style universities in Oxford and Cambridge and is a real living campus. In bygone days it admitted only protestant men, the first women students were admitted in 1904 !
When we come into the brightness of the first quad, known as Parliament square, we can see the fine buildings that date mainly from the 18th century including the chapel, the examination hall and the graduate’s hall. Let’s take a look at the campanile – it is said that it is unlucky for a student to stand underneath it when the bell tolls as this will lead to failing the exams !!
In the second quad stands the long library, the newer Berkeley library and the geology building .
The famous Book of Kells is housed in the Library as well as over 5 million books . The book of Kells is an amazing piece of art and well worth a visit when you come to Dublin . Said to be Irelands national treasure this hand drawn copy of the Gospels was painstaking illuminated by hand by the monks around 800 AD. Across our website www.connemaramarble.com you will see a lot of the inspiration for our Celtic Jewelry is taken from this ancient manuscript. As there is a bit of queue to see the book, lets go instead for a visit to one of my favourite buildings…
Just around the corner from the library is the museum building. This building has housed the geology department for over 160 years and is truly and architectural gem.
Let’s head inside for a closer look ….
Completed in 1857 it was designed to hold the Universities geological collection. Standing just inside the doorway is the skeleton of the giant Irish elk, who roamed Ireland over 9,000 years ago .
Take a look at the vast number of different and contrasting forms of stone that are used in the building . The exterior walls are constructed from Calp Limestone and faced with Ballyknockan granite. The quoins, columns and capitals, as well as the string course that can be seen halfway up the building, are all of Portland stone from Dorset. The tympanum over the heavy wooden main door to building that bares the College crest is of Caen stone from France.
Overall, the exterior amounted to just under half the cost for the entire building! Inside, the main entrance hall houses large pillars, balustrades and bannisters constructed from a range of Irish marbles and Cornish serpentine, while the domed roof is made of blue, red and yellow enamelled bricks. Of course, my favourite is the Connemara marble that we can see in the columns , and bannisters …what a lovely sight , don’t you agree !!
We could spend hours here but let’s head back around towards the Nassau Street exit. Now, here’s a funny thing. Take a look at the street sign “ Nassau Street ” and beneath it the Irish “ Sraid Thobar Phadraig “ .. which literally means St Patrick’s Well street. I will bet that you did not know there is a holy well located just inside the walls of the university that is dedicated to our national saint and the street was named in his honour many years ago. When the English named the street Nassau street, the Irish name and tradition remained !!
Time to go. I do hope that you enjoyed coming with me through Trinity College today . If you would like to see our Book of Kells pieces please visit www.connemaramarble.com
Stay well till next time, Stephen