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The oldest extant university in Ireland, Trinity was founded in 1592 by Queen Elizabeth I to offer an education to the children of the upper classes and protect them from the “malign” Catholic influences elsewhere in Europe. Now it is simply the most respected university in Ireland. Among its alumni are Bram Stoker, Jonathan Swift, Oscar Wilde, and Samuel Beckett, as well as an array of rebels and revolutionaries who helped create the Republic of Ireland. Step through the portico off College Green, into the historic grey-stone courtyard, and it wouldn’t take much more than a lick of fog and a top hat or two to make you think you’d stepped back in time a century or more. The campus spreads across central Dublin just south of the River Liffey like a low-slung castle, with charming cobbled squares, lush gardens, and picturesque quadrangles. Most of the architecture dates from the 17th to the 19th century. You can wander the campus for free; alternatively, between May and September, the university’s official tourism partner, Authenticity Tours, offer an excellent tour of all the main sights, including a ticket for the Old Library and the Book of Kells.