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The Library of Trinity College, Dublin

Director's Choice

Helen Shenton


  • Highlights the diverse holdings of the Library of Trinity College Dublin and illuminates their fascinating history, through a personal tour given by the Library’s Director
  • The Library houses Ireland’s greatest cultural treasure, the medieval Book of Kells, whose rich illuminations are one of the finest examples of medieval art
  • An enlightening addition to Scala’s acclaimed Director’s Choice series


The Library of Trinity College Dublin dates back to the establishment of the College in 1592 and is the largest library in Ireland. Its extensive collection of journals, manuscripts, maps and music reflects over 400 years of academic development and amounts to over 6 million volumes. A Legal Deposit Library since 1801, it receives copies of all material published in the United Kingdom and Ireland. The most famous of its treasures is the Book of Kells, whose rich illuminations are one of the finest examples of medieval art. Together with the Book of Durrow, also in the collection, they represent Ireland’s greatest cultural treasure. The Library also bears testament to more recent history, counting letters from Irish WWI soldiers and various artefacts from the Easter Rising – including a bullet fired through the Library roof – among its collection. This selection of objects highlights the diversity of the holdings and illuminates their fascinating history.

Author information

Helen Shenton is Librarian and College Archivist at Trinity College Dublin. Until 2014 she was Executive Director of Harvard Library, before which she worked at the British Library and the Victoria and Albert Museum.