- Visitor numbers rise 9pc in 2018 on last year
- Overall increase of 50pc in visitor numbers over last four years
- Tourists from US are the largest group – 36pc
- Domestic Irish visitors are the second largest group of visitors at 12pc
- Italy, France and Britain combined make up 27pc of visitors
The Book of Kells and Old Library Exhibition for 2018 have broken the 1m visitor barrier for the first time ever. Millionth visitor Cassie Clemans travelled with her husband Andy from Bend, Oregon, to celebrate their 20th wedding anniversary in Ireland.
She said: “I am thrilled to be the one millionth visitor today to The Book of Kells Exhibition, and to see first-hand one of the greatest treasures of medieval Europe. The Old Library was spectacular too. My husband and I were sure to make this part of our itinerary in Dublin as we own a bookshop in Bend and we are very interested in all things book related.”
Visitors from the US are the largest international group to visit, at 360,920 this year. Irish visitors make up the second largest group, with 122,299 visitors. Tourists from EU countries such as Germany, Italy and France account for 20pc (201,200) visitors, while 68,166 tourists came from Britain this year.
Housed in the Old Library on the Trinity College Dublin campus, the 9th Century Book of Kells has been on display since the mid-19th century.
In the last four years alone there has been an increase from 662,679 visitors in 2014 to one million today.
Librarian and College Archivist Helen Shenton said: “The continuing fascination with the Book of Kells is a reminder that people from all countries draw inspiration from Ireland’s past. We are very conscious of being stewards of probably the most famous medieval manuscript in the world. We are introducing the rotation of other important manuscripts from our collection to complement the Book of Kells and further enhance the exhibition.”
Trinity’s Chief Operating Officer Geraldine Ruane said: “Funds generated by ticket sales go directly to supporting the University, including the maintenance of its historic campus and most importantly the overall academic mission of teaching and research.”
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