Queen Victoria Did What!?!

Trinity College
Image via Wikimedia

Saturday I hopped on another bus and visited Trinity College. It’s the oldest university in Ireland, and it just so happens to house the Book of Kells.

A short tour of the campus was given and our guide was great. He told us the history of the campus as well as a few of the renowned pranks that have occurred there. He even wore a silly little sleeveless scholarly robe which just added to the fun of the tour.

Then, I queued up for the Book of Kells exhibition which is housed in the Old Library. The Old Library was magnificently gorgeous. I was happy to see so many members of the general public where getting to see it.

Old Library Long Room
Image via Wikimedia

The Book of Kells exhibition was great. The rooms leading up to the book had giant pictures of different pages and details about the art work used for the lettering. The exhibit also focused on three other early texts. The rooms were broken up into a meandering pathway so that despite the number of people viewing the pieces, it didn’t seem too crowded or rushed. In all honesty, the exhibit design actually showed up the Book of Kells itself because you got to see so much of the book and with beautiful lighting.

The book was held in a dimly lit room and was very crowded and people pressed against the glass table that it was displayed in. As I waited, I kept wondering what was taking everyone so long. But as soon as I got my chance to see it I completely understood. The illuminated manuscript is done so beautifully and intricately that you just have to marvel at the time and skill that went into making it.

Book of Kells
Image via Wikimedia

The guide told an interesting story about the Book of Kells. He said that when Queen Victoria and Prince Albert visited Ireland, they signed the Book of Kells! I thought surely this couldn’t be true, and after some internet sleuthing it appears to be half-true. They were invited to sign the modern flyleaf not the original text. Their signature page was taken out in 1953 when the book was rebound.


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