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Book of Kells – tickets, prices, timings, what to expect

The Book of Kells in Dublin, Ireland, is considered a national treasure of immense importance.

It is housed in the Trinity College Library and celebrated as one of Ireland’s most esteemed possessions.

It is a manuscript Gospel book with illustrations, created around the 9th century AD, during the Early Medieval period. 

The Book of Kells is admired for its out-of-the-ordinary artistic beauty, intricate detail, and historical significance.

This article covers everything you must know before booking tickets for the Book of Kells tour.

What to expect at Book of Kells Dublin

The Book of Kells Exhibition at Trinity College in Dublin displays the manuscript in a climate-controlled case for protection.

The Book of Kells is a magnificently illuminated gospel manuscript that was likely written in Ireland in the ninth century.

It is well known for its lavish and detailed artwork, which includes beautiful Christian and Celtic themes.

The manuscript contains the four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.

You’ll get a glimpse at its beautifully illustrated pages.

The exhibition provides an informative and immersive outlook on the history, creation, and significance of the Book of Kells. 

You can find displays, panels, and interactive elements that provide insights into the manuscript’s origins and the artistic techniques used in its creation.

When you finish exploring the Book of Kells exhibition, you can move on to the Old Library at Trinity College.

Books, journals, newspapers, magazines, sound and music recordings, databases, maps, prints and manuscripts, and other valuable literary items can be found there.

The remarkable Long Room in the central space of the Old Library has tall arched ceilings and rows of bookshelves holding ancient books.

After visiting the library, you can stop at the gift shop to take home souvenirs, books, and replicas related to the Book of Kells and Trinity College.

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Where to book tickets

Tickets for Book of Kells are available online and at the attraction.

Online ticket prices tend to be cheaper than tickets at the attraction.

When you buy online, you can avoid the long queues at the ticket counters. 

Because Book of Kells Trinity College sells limited tickets, they may sell out during peak days.

Booking early helps avoid last-minute disappointments.

How do online tickets work

Visit the ticket booking page for Book of Kells, select the preferred date, time slot, and number of tickets, and buy the tickets immediately.

Once you purchase tickets, they get delivered to your email address.

There is no need to get printouts of the ticket. 

Show the e-ticket on your smartphone at the entrance and walk in.

Please carry a valid ID with you.

Book of Kells Dublin ticket cost

The Book of Kells Guided Tour tickets cost €72 for people over 13 years.

Children aged between four and 12 get a discount and pay only €67 for the tour.

Infants under three do not require a ticket and can join the tour for free.

Book of Kells in Dublin tickets

Book of Kells in Dublin tickets
Image: TrinityNews.ie

This tour gives you access to the Book of Kells at Trinity College while being led by an English-speaking guide.

This tour is extremely popular because this Book of Kells tour also includes an entrance to Dublin Castle, constructed in the 12th century under the reign of King John. 

A guide will unveil the castle’s outstanding features, including the beautiful gardens. 

This tour is not suitable for wheelchair users.

Ticket Prices

Adult Ticket (13+ years): €72
Child Ticket (4 to 12 years): €67
Infant Ticket (up to 3 years): Free

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How to reach Book of Kells in Dublin

The Book of Kells Exhibition is housed in the Old Library, part of the Trinity College campus. 

Address: The University of Dublin Trinity College, College Green, Dublin, Ireland. Get Directions!

You can reach the Book of Kells by both public and private transportation.

We recommend using public transport to reach the attraction.

By Bus

You can board bus numbers 11, 37, 38, 38A, 38B, 38D, 39, 39A, 40, 70, and 180 to the Trinity College, Nassau St. (Opp. Frederick St) Bus Stop, a three-minute walk from the attraction.

By Tram (Luas)

You can take the Green Tram Line to reach the Trinity Tram Stop, a four-minute walk from the Book of Kells.

By Car

The easiest way to reach the Book of Kells is by car, so turn on Google Maps and get started.

Book of Kells, Dublin, does not have public parking facilities. 

However, several parking options are available nearby for visitors. 

Book of Kells timings

The Book of Kells exhibition opens for the public at 8.30 am and closes at 6.30 pm every Monday to Saturday from April through September.

On Sundays, the timings shift to 9.30 am to 5 pm.

From October to March, Book of Kells opens at 9.30 am and closes at 5 pm from Monday to Saturday.

The timings on Sundays are 12 pm to 4.30 pm during this period.

The Book of Kells exhibition remains open on public holidays.

How long does the Book of Kells tour take

How long does the Book of Kells tour take
Image: Twitter.com(TheIrelandFunds)

The Book of Kells and Trinity College Old Library Tour lasts 45 minutes to one hour.

The guide will provide commentary, insights, and historical context about the manuscript and its significance. 

They may also share interesting stories about Trinity College and its library.

Best time to visit Book of Kells in Dublin

The best time to visit Book of Kells in Dublin is during off-peak hours, such as early morning or late afternoon, which can help you avoid enormous crowds.

Visit the Book of Kells on weekdays rather than weekends, as it tends to be less crowded. 

However, if you enjoy the crowd, weekends are good too!

More facts on the Book of Kells

Learn more about the Book of Kells!

History and Origin

The Book of Kells has an uncertain origin and creation, but it is believed to have been made around 800 AD by Celtic monks in Scotland or Ireland. 

Some think it was inscribed in a Columban monastery on the Scottish island of Iona and later brought to Ireland to protect it from Viking attacks.

Contents and Structure

The Book of Kells contains the four Christian Gospels of the New Testament: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. 

The Gospels are followed by ornamental and decorative illustrations known as illuminations. 

The manuscript is written in Latin and includes the text of the Gospels and additional passages and commentaries from Old Latin translation.

Artistic Style and Illuminations

The most exceptional aspect of the Book of Kells is its elaborate illuminations and intricate artwork. 

The pages are adorned with vibrant and complex designs containing a blend of Christian symbolism, Celtic patterns, mythical creatures, and animal motifs. 

The illuminations demonstrate prodigious calligraphy skills, intricate knotwork, interlacing patterns, and detailed artwork.

Symbolism and Meaning

The illuminations in the Book of Kells symbolize both religious and cultural significance. 

The intricate knotwork and interlaced patterns represent the eternal nature of God.

The depictions of animals, such as birds, snakes, and lions, are believed to symbolize Gospel themes. 

The overall artistic style is a fusion of Celtic, Anglo-Saxon, and Mediterranean influences.

Preservation and Display

The Book of Kells has survived several threats throughout history, including Viking raids, fires, and theft attempts. 

Despite surviving all that menace, the Book of Kells now resides at Trinity College Dublin.

The manuscript is displayed under strict security conditions in the Trinity College Library, where visitors can glimpse at the Book of Kells exhibition.

Significance and Legacy

The Book of Kells is considered one of the finest examples of early medieval manuscript art. 

Book of Kells’ exceptional craftsmanship and artistic beauty make it an enduring Irish heritage and cultural identity symbol. 

It serves as a testament to the skill, creativity, and devotion of the Celtic monks who created it and the artistic achievements of the medieval period.

Influence on Art and Culture

The Book of Kells has influenced artists, writers, and designers throughout history. 

Its visual beauty and intricate details have inspired contemporary Irish art and design forms, including jewelry, textiles, architecture, and graphic design. 

The war memorial books commissioned by artist Harry Clark to honor the Irish soldiers who died in World War I exemplify this.

Additionally, it has played a significant role in academic studies of medieval art, Celtic culture, and religious history.

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FAQs about the Book of Kells Dublin

FAQs about the Book of Kells Dublin
Image: Twitter.com(Tcddublin)

Here are some frequently asked questions about the Book of Kells.

How much does it cost to visit the Book of Kells?

The Book of Kells Tour tickets cost €63 for people over 13 years. 

Children aged between four and 12 get a 7% discount and pay only €58 to enter Castle Dublin in Ireland.

Are there guided tours of the Book of Kells available?

Yes, guided tours of the Book of Kells Exhibition are available. 

They provide in-depth information about the manuscript’s history, artwork, and significance.

Is the exhibition accessible to people with disabilities?

Yes, the Book of Kells Exhibition strives to be accessible for visitors with disabilities, offering facilities such as wheelchair access, elevators, and accessible toilets.

Is there an age restriction for visiting the Book of Kells?

No, there is no specific age restriction, and visitors of all ages are welcome to explore the exhibition.

Can I see the original Book of Kells?

You can see the original Book of Kells on display at the Book of Kells Exhibition in the Old Library at Trinity College Dublin.

Are photography and videography allowed inside the exhibition?

Photography and videography are not permitted inside the exhibition to protect the manuscript.

How long does it take to see the Book of Kells?

The duration of your visit to the Book of Kells Exhibition can vary, but most visitors spend around 45 minutes to an hour exploring the exhibition.

Are there any additional attractions at Trinity College Dublin?

Yes, visitors can explore the Old Library, which houses the Long Room, a stunning library with impressive book collections and historical manuscripts, along with the Book of Kells Exhibition.

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Edited by Rekha Rajan & fact checked by Jamshed V Rajan

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