Trinity College, founded in 1592, is the pride of Ireland. Our guide, George, was an extremely knowledgeable and charming history student originally from London. He told us about a former administrator who was not particularly loved and, in fact, fought tooth and nail against admitting women to the school, leading many female graduates to get their picture taken next to his statue just to show who won that battle.
The library has a lovely symbiotic relationship with two majestic trees on campus: their roots suck the moisture away that might otherwise cause harmful mildew to collect on the books.
Oscar Wilde–one of Trinity’s most famous graduates–lived in the residence hall furthest out so that he could more easily practice debauchery and corrupt fellow students without getting caught.
And speaking of escaping punishment…A few hundred years ago, two students threw rocks at the window of their professor, who appeared with a gun and began shooting at the students. The students, in turn, ran back to their rooms to get their own firearms, returned to the angry professor’s window, shot, and killed him. But the two students were eventually pardoned because the college deemed that it was all just a prank that got out of hand.
Because the college is so old, beautifully restored buildings from the 16th century sit beside 20th century structures, including a block of concrete named Berkeley Hall, which is pronounced “Bark-lee.” Coincidentally, the sculpture in front of this hall is one of about a dozen created by the artist, Pomodoro. The other sites include the Vatican, the U.N. in New York, and one just a few miles from my home on UC Berkeley campus.
We got to see the Book of Kells, or at least the four pages currently displayed in the Old Library. Monks painstakingly copied the Latin text and illustrated the words lovingly. Now of course, we would just go to the corner copy store.
Many of Ireland’s famous scholars passed through these halls, including Samuel Beckett, Jonathon Swift, and Bram Stoker. Apparently Courtney Love went there too. They can’t all be gifted…