When visiting Dublin, Ireland, one of the things that should definitely be on your itinerary is visiting Trinity College. We would definitely recommend getting tickets to see the Book of Kells exhibition at the Old Library, which displays two of the four books at all times. A popular myth is that there is a ceremony to turn the pages of the books daily, but that doesn’t actually occur. The Book of Kells contains the Four Gospels of the New Testament and was believed to have been written around the 8th century. The book gets its name from the Abby of Kells in Kells, Ireland where the book was kept for centuries. The illustrations in the Book of Kells are considered to be the most intricate, complex, and interesting of any version of the Gospels that have ever been created.
The ticket to the Book of Kells exhibit also includes access to the Long Room in the Old Library. Seeing the hundreds of historic books on the bookshelves in the library is truly amazing. At the ends of each row of bookshelves are busts of famous literary geniuses. We found the Long Room to be as interesting as the Book of Kells itself. Unfortunately, we weren’t allowed to take photographs of the Book of Kells, but it is certainly worth seeing when visiting Dublin. Standing in the Long Room of the Old Library is almost overwhelming to think of how many historic books are located in a single place.
In this digital age, we actually still are fans of owning physical books that we can open and read. Throughout history, the sharing of stories by writing them down has been an important part of preserving knowledge about the cultures that they represent. To some extent, everyone who has a web site and shares their stories is continuing in this same tradition, but obviously on a grander scale in this world where we are all connected electronically. One of the things that we find fascinating is when we come across an ancient text during our travels. Whether it is the Book of Kells in Ireland, papyrus hieroglyphs in Cairo, or just an ancient bible in a church, seeing the care given to these books and manuscripts is an important reminder of how much respect needs to be given to what has been written by our ancestors.
Kassel is part of the German Fairy Tale Route and is best known for being where the Brother’s Grimm went to university and lived. The museum itself is dedicated more to the work that the brothers did on documenting the German language and creating the definitive German dictionary than on the fairy tales that made them legendary. The tales themselves were collected by the brothers by visiting the owners of inns on the heavily traveled roads in the area. The owners of the inns would recount stories told by travelers as they passed through the region, which provided the brothers with a rich collection of folklore to work with.
Over time, the brothers wrote down and printed over 200 stories, which are still popular to this day. Cinderella, The Frog Prince, Hansel and Gretel, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Rumpelstiltskin, and Rapunzel are just a few of the folklore stories that the brothers published during their illustrious careers.
Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm were born in Hanau, Germany, which is now the starting point of the fairy tale route. They moved to Kassel to attend the University of Marburg, which only had about 200 students. Jacob became the court librarian to the King of Westphalia and later became librarian in Kassel. Although the museum isn’t solely focused on the fairy tales, it is still very interesting and worth visiting. Children will definitely have fun seeing the various exhibits, but the museum is perfect for people of all ages. If you travel the German Fairy Tale Route or plan a trip to Kassel, you should definitely take a few hours to visit this fascinating museum.