Books written and illustrated by Dublin schoolchildren join Book of Kells Exhibition

Posted on: 30 March 2023

An exhibition of 61 handmade books written and illustrated by Dublin primary school students was unveiled in the Long Room of Trinity’s Old Library this evening on Thurs, March 30th.

The exhibition marks the culmination of the Trinity Access Programmes (TAP) Bookmarks programme which sees Dublin primary school children write and illustrate their own books over a two-month period with the help of authors, illustrators, and children’s book specialists from Trinity. 

Scoil Chaitriona, Baggot Street's Anita Maia Orru and Marta Kmiec

The project aims to inspire the children to become the next generation of storytellers, artists, and creatives. Bookmarks is organised  TAP which supports students from under-represented backgrounds to progress to further education.

5th and 6th class pupils from City Quay National School, Scoil Chaitríona Baggot Street, and St Enda’s National School, Whitefriar Street, gathered with their families and teachers to see their creations go on display in the awe-inspiring Long Room, which is home to 200,000 of Trinity’s oldest books. 

Their books will now be on display in the Long Room until the end of April, and will then become part of Trinity’s permanent collection of over six million printed volumes including the world-renowned Book of Kells. 

St Enda's Primary School, Whitefriar Street's Hajed Mohammed Omer

The exhibition was launched by Librarian and College Archivist Helen Shenton and award-winning poet and children’s author, Catherine Ann Cullen. This year, the Bookmarks programme focused on the theme of ‘Celebrating Freedom and Adventure’ to mark TAP’s 30th Birthday. Writing and illustration workshops were delivered by editor Sine Quinn, author Erika McGann, and illustrator Angela McDonagh. 

Speaking in advance of the event Librarian and College Archivist, Helen Shenton commented: “This exhibition has been a longstanding collaboration with Trinity Access Programmes’ Bookmarks initiative. It is especially significant as TAP turns 30 this year and we celebrate its impact on young people’s lives. I am delighted to be joining school children from three Dublin schools later this evening to enjoy the beautiful heritage of the Old Library before it closes later this year for major  conservation, as part of the Old Library Redevelopment Project. We are embarking on this project in order to safeguard the Old Library for school children who will gather in the library this evening and for future generations who will continue to interpretate and re-interpretate the Book of Kells and the Library collections into the Library’s fourth century.”

Dr Becky Long, Primary Outreach Coordinator in TAP added: “Bookmarks is very special to TAP. The opportunity it offers to children from our linked primary schools to see their books come to life on the shelves of the Old Library is unique and inspiring. Stories live in Trinity, and the stories of our primary school students are vital to the future of the university. Our outreach programmes engage over 10,000 students annually, and with continued involvement and support, these students and their peers will successfully make the transition to both second and third level.”  

About Trinity Access Programmes:

The Trinity Access Programmes support people from areas with low progression rates to higher education to reach their full educational potential. We offer a range of access programmes for people with the enthusiasm, motivation and ability to succeed at third-level. We engage with communities and schools in low progression areas to encourage a positive mindset and support real steps towards going to University. Our programmes range from primary school students right through to postgraduates.

Media Contact:

Fiona Tyrrell | Media Relations | | +353 1 896 3551