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13 Interesting Facts About Trinity College Dublin

Are you looking for some interesting facts about Trinity College Dublin?

Trinity College Dublin (TCD) is Ireland’s oldest and most prestigious university, located in the heart of the Irish capital. Its campus is deemed one of the most stunning in the world, featuring landscaped gardens and gorgeous architecture.

Added with its rich history and impressive academic programs, Trinity College Dublin is no doubt one of the world’s most prestigious educational institutions.

Today, Trinity College Dublin is recognized as a center of excellence in various fields, including science, engineering, technology, and the humanities, consistently ranking among the top universities not only in Europe but the whole world.

Scroll down for more interesting facts about Trinity College Dublin.

13 Interesting Facts About Trinity College Dublin

13 Interesting Facts About Trinity College Dublin

1. Queen Elizabeth I founded Trinity College Dublin to promote Protestantism in Ireland

Queen Elizabeth I established Trinity College Dublin in 1592. It is the first, hence, oldest university in Ireland and one of the oldest ones in Europe.

Back in the day, Ireland was predominantly Catholic and most educational institutions there were affiliated with the Catholic Church. Queen Elizabeth I founded TCD to provide education in the Protestant tradition. The college would also be used as a training center for Protestant clergy.

2. At first, Trinity College Dublin only accepted Protestant students

Back then TCD only accepted wealthy Protestants for education. It was only in 1793 that the institution also welcomed Catholic students.

Also at first, only men were welcomed to the school. It was in 1904 that TCD opened its doors for female students.

3. Trinity College Dublin was modeled on England’s Oxford and Cambridge colleges

Naturally, Trinity College Dublin also served as a center for learning and scholarship with a purpose to provide education in the classical tradition.

It was modeled on Oxford and Cambridge colleges in England, with subjects such as Latin, Greek, and philosophy, as well as law, medicine, and theology being included in the curriculum.

4. Trinity College Dublin’s first Provost was Adam Loftus

Adam Loftus

Adam Loftus

Adam Loftus is best remembered as one of Trinity College Dublin’s founding figures and its first Provost. He was born in Yorkshire Dales, England, in 1533 and died in Dublin in 1605. He was an English Archbishop appointed to the position in 1592 by Queen Elizabeth I.

Loftus oversaw the construction of the college’s first buildings and recruited its first faculty. He also played a major role in securing the college’s endowment from the British crown and in establishing its governance structure.

He served as TCD’s Provost until his death in April of 1605.

5. The Trinity College Library houses the Book of Kells

Book of Kells

Book of Kells

The famous Book of Kells, an illuminated manuscript in Latin which contains the four Gospels of the New Testament, is considered one of the most important works of Irish art. It is comprised of 340 pages of intricate illustrations and decorations, including intricate Celtic knots, animals, and symbols.

The Book of Kells, created by Celtic monks around the year 800 AD, is one of the most famous and exquisite specimen of early medieval art – a masterpiece of Western calligraphy and Irish illumination. The work is renowned for the intricacy, detail, and majesty of each illustration it contains.

It is believed that the book was created at the monastery in Scotland. It was then taken to the monastery of Kells in Ireland, where it got its name.

The Book of Kells is housed at the Trinity College Library today, where it is on display for visitors to admire.

6. The Trinity College Library’s Long Room houses over 200,000 old books and manuscripts

Trinity College Library's Long Room

The Long Room in the Trinity College Library is an impressive hall where more than 200,000 of the library’s oldest and most valuable books and manuscripts – including the Book of Kells – are kept. It is one of the most iconic rooms in the Trinity College Library.

The Long Room, built between 1712 and 1732, features a barrel-vaulted ceiling and is lined with floor-to-ceiling bookcases that hold those precious books and manuscripts.

Aside from the Book of Kells, the Long Room also houses other important manuscripts, including the Faddan More Psalter, the Book of Howth, and the Book of Durrow.

7. The oldest harp in Ireland is also housed in the Trinity College Library

oldest harp in Ireland

Also contained in the majestic Long Room in the Trinity College Library is the Brian Boru harp, Ireland’s oldest harp and national symbol.

It is not known when the harp was exactly created, but some believe it dates back to the 14th or 15th century. It is made of oak and willow, adorned with brass strings and intricate carvings.

The famous harp is named after Brian Boru, the legendary High King of Ireland, who ruled the kingdom in the early 11th century. The Brian Boru harp is featured on the coat of arms of the Republic of Ireland.

8. The Long Room is a popular tourist attraction

Library Long Room

With all those things mentioned that the famous Long Room holds, it is not surprising that it is a popular tourist attraction in Ireland. It is also deemed one of the world’s most beautiful libraries. It is about 65 meters long and lined with marble busts of famous writers and philosophers.

The Long Room has been featured in numerous movies and television shows. You may have seen it in the Harry Potter movies.

Visitors can enjoy the Long Room, with tours offered so they can learn more about the library’s history and the collection that it contains.

9. Trinity College Dublin has produced numerous notable alumni

Trinity College

TCD has a long history of producing notable alumni which include Irish presidents such as Eamon de Valera and Mary Robinson, Nobel laureates like Ernest Walton, and famous writers such as Jonathan Swift, Oscar Wilde, Elizabeth Bowen, Samuel Beckett, and Bram Stoker.

10. Trinity College Dublin has many notable landmarks

Campanile Trinity College

TCD is home to several iconic landmarks in addition to the famous Long Room. These include the following:

• Campanile – a 19th-century bell tower that is a symbol of the school, which visitors can climb for gorgeous views of the city

• Douglas Hyde Gallery – a contemporary art space named after the first Irish president

• Dining Hall – a magnificent hall with an impressive vaulted ceiling and portraits of famous TCD alumni on its walls

• The Provost’s House –  an 18th-century Gregorian building where the college’s Provost resides

• Front Square – the campus’ main square, where visitors and students alike go to relax and admire the surroundings

11. Trinity College Dublin offers over 600 courses and programs

TCD offers a wide array of courses and programs across various disciplines. Currently, there are more than 600 undergraduate and postgraduate courses and programs, including degrees, diplomas, and certificates.

12. There are around 20,000 students at Trinity College Dublin

Trinity College

TCD is home to around 20,000 undergraduate and postgraduate students taking up major disciplines in business, the arts and humanities, engineering, science, health sciences, and law.

13. Trinity College Dublin is rumored to be haunted

Like most if not all old universities in the world, legends and rumors about TCD being haunted abound.

A former student is said to haunt TCD’s famous library while a former professor supposedly still wanders around the campus halls. However, please note that none of the purported paranormal occurrences at Trinity College Dublin has been proven.