How To See Dublin’s Book Of Kells For Free or Half Price

By on 7th June 2020

No visit to Dublin, Ireland’s capital city is complete without a visit to the country’s oldest university and the academic birthplace of so many of its most famous artists, writers, politicians and philanthropists (plus Chris de Burgh).

Despite its city centre location, Trinity College enjoys a very tranquil and studious atmosphere. Students can be seen carrying handfuls of books from class to class, whilst others zip swiftly across the cobbles of Parliament Square on bicycles. The college grounds are open to all and visitors are welcome to wander about and enjoy the architecture and the peaceful surroundings.

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Parliament Square at Trinity College, Dublin

The Book of Kells

The college and its beautiful buildings are worth visiting on their own, but tourists tend to head straight to the library building to view one of Dublin’s top attractions; the Book of Kells.

In a nutshell, the Book of Kells is a collection of ancient books which retells the Gospels. There are two primary reasons why so many people go to see the book. They are:

  • It’s really old. The book is thought to have been created in 800AD.
  • The book is beautifully illustrated and is said to far surpass any other book of its era in terms of extravagance and complexity.

Since the book is so old and so precious, the college doesn’t allow you to thumb through it. Instead, only two pages are on display at any given time, leading many to ask whether the book is actually worth seeing, especially when the hefty entrance fee of €10 is taken into account.

It was a question Jade and I pondered ourselves while we were in Dublin. Ever keen to ensure we get value for money on our trips, we ended up deciding it wasn’t quite worth it. Thankfully though, there are two options available to careful spenders like us, one which halves the entrance price and another that make the price vanish altogether.

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Bicycles at Trinity College, Dublin

How to see the Book of Kells for half price or free

The two ways to avoid paying the €10 fee to see the Books of Kells are as follows:

  1. To see the Book of Kells and the Old Library for half price, visit 30 minutes before the library closes. Generally speaking, the library closes at 1700, though there are some exceptions. Visit the official website for the latest opening times.
  2. To see the Book of Kells for free, befriend a student or an alumni. All students and alumni get lifetime access to the Old Library and the exhibition and can take up to three friends with them at a time.

Regretfully, this is the only way to get in for free. Otherwise, you’ll need to pay.

Trinity College is where so many of Ireland’s most famous and successful personalities found their feet and made a name for themselves. Samuel Beckett and Oscar Wilde are just two names that stand out from the long list. That’s why a visit to Trinity College is an important stop on your visit to Dublin.


Book of Kells Early Access Tour with Dublin Castle

Avoid the crowds and explore Irish history in peace on this 2.5-hour Book of Kells and Dublin Castle exterior tour. Visit the Trinity College Library, home to the famous Book of Kells — widely considered among the most important of all Ireland’s ancient treasures.

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Did you manage to get to see the Book of Kells for half price, or even for free? We’d love to hear about it. Leave us a comment in the box below.

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