Saturday 17 November 2018

Book of Kells and 'most beautiful room in Ireland' beat one million visitor mark

Spurred by a Royal visit, the Book of Kells has become one of Ireland's most popular attractions

Composite image of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle (Photo: Getty) with Trinity College's Old Library in the background (Photo: Fáilte Ireland).
Composite image of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle (Photo: Getty) with Trinity College's Old Library in the background (Photo: Fáilte Ireland).
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex enjoying a walkabout at Trinity College after visiting the Book of Kells. Pic Steve Humphreys 11th July 2018
The Book of Kells
The Old Library at Trinity College, Dublin (Photo: Fáilte Ireland)
Pól Ó Conghaile

Pól Ó Conghaile

Trinity College's Book of Kells and Old Library Exhibition has surpassed one million visitors for the first time in a single year.

Cassie Clemans was the visitor singled out as No. 1,000,000 for 2018.

She was visiting Dublin with her husband Andy from Bend, Oregon, to celebrate their 20th wedding anniversary this week.

"My husband and I were sure to make this part of our itinerary in Dublin as we own a bookshop in Bend and we are very interested in all things book related,” she said.

Visitors to the the ninth-century manuscript, exhibition and Long Room have grown 9pc over the past year, Trinity College said.

Among this year's guests were Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, who travelled to Dublin on July 11-12.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex enjoying a walkabout at Trinity College after visiting the Book of Kells.
Pic Steve Humphreys
11th July 2018
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex enjoying a walkabout at Trinity College after visiting the Book of Kells. Pic Steve Humphreys 11th July 2018

The news makes the Book of Kells the sixth attraction in Ireland to draw more than a million visitors a year, according to 2017 figures from Fáilte Ireland.

Ireland's Top 5 Visitor Attractions 2017

  1. Guinness Storehouse, Dublin - 1,711,281
  2. Cliffs of Moher, Co. Clare - 1,527,000
  3. Dublin Zoo - 1,264,300
  4. National Aquatic Centre, Dublin - 1,099,756
  5. National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin - 1,065,929

Overall, visitor numbers are up 50pc in the last four years, Trinity College said, with US tourists its single most popular grouping at 36pc.

Irish visitors make up 12pc of the total.

The Book of Kells
The Book of Kells

Housed in the Old Library on the Trinity College campus, the Book of Kells has been on display since the mid-19th century. Entry for adults costs from €11 to €14.

“The continuing fascination with the Book of Kells is a reminder that people from all countries draw inspiration from Ireland's past," said Librarian and College Archivist at Trinity College Dublin, Helen Shenton.

"We are very conscious of being stewards of probably the most famous medieval manuscript in the world. We are introducing the rotation of other important manuscripts from our collection to complement the Book of Kells and further enhance the exhibition as a major visitor experience in Dublin.

"We are equally conscious that visitors from around the world are awed and inspired by the Long Room, often called ‘the most beautiful room in Ireland’.”

Read more:

The Dublin Bucket List: 30 things to do in the city before you die

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