Trinity College Dublin or TCD is one of Ireland’s oldest universities dating back some 427 years. Located just off Grafton Street, it is one of Dublin’s most historic and imposing buildings, attracting over two million visitors each year. Founded in 1592, it was hoped that establishing a university in Dublin would give the city a higher status, and bring it into the mainstream of European learning.
Today Trinity College offers a wide range of undergraduate, postgraduate, masters and doctorate programs in its hallowed halls and still retains its standing as one of the most respected universities in Europe and indeed the world.
Distinguished Trinity alumni include former president Mary McAleese, Senator David Norris, current Taoiseach Leo Varadkar as well as a host of other notable figures from the worlds of music and drama, including actress Katie Mcgrath and more recently singer-songwriter Hozier. Over the years it has also bestowed some honorary degrees to renowned figures including Catherine Corless, Hillary Rodham Clinton and Bob Geldof.
The Campus & Grounds
As the number of visitors has grown in recent years, it’s recommended to take an official guided tour to make the most of your visit. Guided tours of the campus take place daily and last approximately 35 minutes. The tour includes the four major squares of the university and is run by Authenticity Tours, situated at the Front Gate. To take a tour simply turn up and buy a ticket. Advanced booking is not available and cash is the preferred payment method.
The summer schedule for the tour is as follows:
May-August Trinity Tours
Tours run approximately every 20 minutes.
The first tour takes place at around 9 am, with the final tour at around 4 pm.
However, it’s important to note that the schedule for the tours usually appears on the front gate each day and should take precedence over any information found online.
Places To Eat And Drink
Students, staff and visitors have a wide choice of places to eat and drink on campus.
The Old Dining Hall
Students are served a selection of hot and cold dishes, along with delicious desserts in the elegant Old Dining Hall. Opening hours are 12 noon to 3.00pm Monday to Friday. The dining hall opens at lunchtime only during term.
The Perch Café
This quaint cafe is located on the ground floor of the Arts Building, near the Book of Kells exhibition and the Old Library, making it ideal for tourists. Find local produce and an abundance of home baked goods, hot and cold food items along with coffees, teas, smoothies and juices. There’s also a lovely outdoor area where you can sit with a hot beverage and watch the world go by. Open weekdays from 8.00am to 7.00pm Monday to Thursday and 8.00am to 6.00pm on Friday.
Aras an Phiarsaigh Coffee Area
Located in the centre of the Trinity campus, this is a great little cafe to purchase a quick pick-me-up coffee and sweet treat. Open weekdays from 8.30am to 4.30pm Monday to Thursday and 8.30am to 3.30pm on Friday.
The Book of Kells & The Old Library Exhibition
One of Trinity’s premier attractions, besides the building itself, is The Book of Kells. The precious artefact is a 9th century manuscript that documents the four Gospels of the life of Jesus Christ. It is considered one of Ireland’s greatest cultural masterpieces and one of the most famous medieval manuscripts on earth. The manuscript has been shown in a number of regions across the world, including Canberra in Australia but today it remains on permanent exhibition in the Old Library at Trinity. The Old Library is truly a stunning piece of architecture. A little known fact is that it was the inspiration for the Hogwarts School Of Witchcraft & Wizardy in the fictional Harry Potter series by J.K Rowling. If you plan on viewing the exhibition for The Book of Kells, it’s recommended to allow at least 40 minutes to 1 hour to make the most of your visit.
Science Gallery Dublin
Located just meters away from the old Trinity building, is the Science Gallery Dublin on Pearse Street, which opened in 2008. The building is part of the Global Science Gallery Network pioneered by Trinity College and a welcome addition to the city’s many attractions. Head along to check out the latest exhibitions on Science & Technology and afterwards, enjoy a cup of coffee in the bright & airy cafe.