This colossal hall is a book lover’s paradise. Known as the Long Room, this magnificent chamber is nearly 65 meters (213 feet) in length and home to over 200,000 rare books. It forms the main portion of the Old Library at Trinity College in Dublin, which is both the largest library in Ireland and one of the most impressive in the world.
Marble busts line the grand chamber, depicting great philosophers and writers of the Western world, as well as people connected to Trinity College. The impressive sculptural collection was started in 1743 with busts from the sculptor Peter Scheemakers. Other treasures that line the hall include one of the few remaining copies of the 1916 Proclamation of the Irish Republic, the Book of Kells, and a harp that is the oldest of its kind in Ireland (dating back to the 15th century). Composed of oak and willow, this precious artifact is the model that remains the emblem of Ireland today.
Built between 1712 and 1732, the great hall was filled with books, thanks in part to a law passed in 1801 that gave the Library the right to claim a free copy of every book published in Britain and Ireland. Expansions were forced to be made in the 1850s in order to make room for more books. With its vaulted ceilings, and rows and rows of precious books, this library is certainly worth a visit.