As part of the Trinity College expedition in Dublin, we walked through the highly impressive Long Room. While I thoroughly enjoyed the first edition books that I told you about at the castle (HERE), this was a vast college and beyond what I could have imagined as a book lover. There are many invaluable elements contained within this extraordinary room, and countless busts of famous writers and philosophers are located throughout the Old Library building. Everyone from Aristotle, Homer, Isaac Newton, Plato and Shakespeare greet you while perusing the titles at a distance.Originally built in the 1700’s, this library is classified as “one of the most impressive libraries in the world”. Just walking through it made me feel smarter😄! I also felt compelled to read many more books per year, start a book club, discuss the great writers with my peers…but, alas, we eventually had to fly home and go to work! I’m lucky if I get through a book every other month :/. If you are a reader or book-lover at all, you would enjoy this room immensely. “The main chamber of the Old Library is what is considered The Long Room at nearly 65 metres in length” (213 feet for us Americans).
I suppose the academic and perpetual student in me rose up on this particular day. The small library at Blairquhan Castle and this extraordinary sight of books📚in The Long Room were two “indoor” highlights of my European trip. The “outside” countryside in both Ireland and Scotland captured my heart – my daughters felt the same way. But, here is one final photo (from the internet) of The Long Room – view from above:
Moving on to Ireland, one of our first stops was to visit The Book of Kells at Trinity College in Dublin.
We learned that this book contains the four gospels, created by monks in the 9th century. Historians appear to struggle with where exactly it was created but believe locations were likely in Scotland, Ireland and/or other areas of Britain. Spectacular illustrations. Ireland’s oldest artifact.
As a visitor, perhaps it was the time of year but it was crowded. When I started looking at reviews for The Book of Kells (after we were home), I realized that most people comment about the amount of people and the small space. The room where the one book exists, tourists swarm around the glass-enclosed case and it’s difficult to linger and appreciate the book’s antiquity when your fellow man is waiting their turn for a peek. Something that detailed, illustrated and old is something I would have liked to spend more time with.
That said, the visit is worthwhile, as to see something this precious to a country is special.
After landing in Glasgow, we traveled to Edinburgh to see this extraordinary castle. Due to travel and having to get to the wedding venue in Maybole, Ayrshire, we didn’t spend nearly as much time as required to really see all the extraordinary history on this particular Scotland site.
This castle has housed royalty, prisoners and served as a major military fortress. Merely driving up to the site is captivating. The structure itself is imposing and being up on Castle Hill makes it a view worth staring at for a good long while.
A few of the highlights of this castle: “…it was home to kings and queens for many centuries.” Built on a hill, it had tremendous military advantage (even if it was seized in just 30 minutes back in 1639). “The castle is the most besieged place in Britain.”
One very long line we did not wait in was for the Honours of Scotland. These are the crown jewels and are “the oldest Royal Regalia in Britain”. “The crown was made for James V, who first wore it at the coronation of Queen Mary of Guise in 1540. Mary Queen of Scots was the first to be crowned using the new crown and sceptre together, in 1543.”
If you are fortunate to visit Edinburgh Castle someday, plan several hours if you really want to get your admission’s worth and fully experience the characters, reenactments and several buildings to enter.
This is the farewell post to Scotland…next time I’ll show some of the highlights of our time in Ireland.