(I could of stayed in there forever. The history of the books was phenomenal. They were such beautiful artefacts from so many different cultures and religions! I am a sucker for things like that, they hold so much historical value and so often they are as beautiful and awe inspiring as any painting or photograph, sometimes even more so for me. It’s a shame that you were not allowed to take photographs, but I understand why due to the fragile nature of the materials. I was however able to get some photographs of some japanese bottles and some information about them)

I would of gladly stayed in that beautiful building during my whole time in Ireland. I went there on the final day, on my own, in the rain. From what I had been told I expected a small room with some old books inside. I couldn’t of imagined that I was stepping into Irelands equivalent of the British Library!

They held some of the most outstanding historical artefacts. Religious texts from religions that have survived till today and even texts from those that did not. Books from every corner of the globe, with detailed descriptions of how they were made, bound and what materials were used.

I was amazed by some of these books, that in there own right have become beautiful artefacts. The lotus Sutra was particularly eye-catching. It is thought to contain the final sermon given by buddha. Their copy was from the first century AD!

They also had a Jade Book. It is ‘The song of the Jade Bowel’, written by the Imperial Brush (Yu Biyu Weng Ye) – Qianlong Emperor. It was created by tracing poem onto thin paper then engraving into the surface of the jade.

A text I was especially impressed to see was from one of the oldest Gospel texts in the world. It was a tiny fragment that contained chapter 19, verses 25-28 (Crucifixion Account) and was from the Gospel of Saint John. This fragment dated to the second half of the second century AD.

I learnt so much while I was there. I discovered that there was a religion called Jainism, which was one of the three major religions of early India. I also found out what the first rule of Japanese painting is/ was, ‘grasp the living spirit of a subject rather than to deceive the eye with the reproduction of it’s presence.’. I also learnt about different kinds of book binding, including ‘Pressure – Moulded Binding’.

One of my favourite things to see was the European books. They had some of the most beautiful book bindings. Imprinted patterns, leather of different colours, mouldings and thickness. Tiny books to absolutely massive atlas’. It is amazing to consider that our ancestors put so much effort into making these books that have survived to the present day, yet this was common practice in their time, while today it has become so rare.

I was disappointed that I couldn’t take photographs, however I do understand the reasoning behind it. I found the layout confusing at times, and would find myself reading about texts from islam when I thought I was still in the Christianity section, only to discover I had gone a way not intended and missed the introduction to the section.

However, I absolutely adored it, and would definitely like to return. My mother and sister would adore it as well.

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