This past weekend I had the immense pleasure of spending time in the Republic of Ireland's capital, Dublin City. Among the many things we saw, one of the places that I had the opportunity to experience was, what I consider, a physical embodiment knowledge and study- a visit to the Trinity College, containing the Book of Kells and the old library's "long room."
The Book of Kells is an Ancient Irish text, a beautifully illustrated Latin rendition of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Trinity has an extensive exhibit leading up to the book, telling all one could wish to know about the book, even down to the ink and the binding. The book is incredibly well preserved after over 1000 years and shows with clarity the devotion of the artists and the calligraphers in their creation of this copy of the gospels. It's a very unique and special feeling, reading- the little I could understand- out of the word of God, penned so long ago and with so much care, to see the reverence for the words in the flawless presentation of them.
The old library is a whole other experience, one that I don't think I'll ever forget. Walking into that majestic room, I literally had to catch my breath. Books, thousands of wonderfully old books, fill shelves that reach to the ceiling while dozens of busts of doctors, writers, and philosophers silently keep guard along the edges of the room. Among the many things knowledge and learning can be, a powerful and important tool that people have been striving for throughout the ages, something that is a monumental part of our lives, especially in the first 18-25 years, a force to be reckoned with- it can also be absolutely beautiful. I don't think I've ever seen anything that so clearly encompasses that in any tangible sort of way, but Trinity's library certainly does. Looking into it, you can almost see the centuries of study and the tremendous amount of learning presented in the long room of Trinity College's old library.
These are some of the things I find spectacular, things that ignite my imagination and desire for that same passion and knowledge that the people who made these things, who penned and painted the Book of Kells, who built and maintained the library, even the figures represented in marble and the many books that line the shelves. These, and things like them, are some of the most wonderful sights for a scholar's heart.