The book of Kells

The book of Kells.

Yes, that's where I went today.

Now I have seen the original and it took my breathe away.

The Book of Kells (Trinity College Dublin MS 58) is celebrated for its lavish decoration. The manuscript contains the four Gospels in Latin based on a Vulgate text, written on vellum (prepared calfskin), in a bold and expert version of the script known as "insular majuscule".

The place of origin of the Book of Kells is generally attributed to the scriptorium of the monastery founded around 561 by St Colum Cille on Iona, an island off the west coast of Scotland. In 806, following a Viking raid on the island which left 68 of the community dead, the Columban monks took refuge in a new monastery at Kells, County Meath. It must have been close to the year 800 that the Book of Kells was written, although there is no way of knowing if the book was produced wholly at Iona or at Kells, or partially at each location.

Kells 19d
So I had to come back to the hotel and created my own image.

it's so crude compared to the original.

I studied the page shown today (supposedly they turn it to a different page each day) I think I was about 1 foot from it and I couldn't see all the detail. Its so fine, you need a magnifying glass to see the intracy.

How did they do it by candle light.

How did they draw such intricate patterns on calf vellum and with pens made from swan feathers.?

It defies description.

From the sanctity of Book of Kells you walk up into the library.

It takes your breath away to see such a magnificent structure.

The beautiful leather bound books that carry so much of their history inside their covers rest casually on the shelves of huge wooden bookcases.

you can't take photos of course so I found this video that shows a little of what I saw today.


Tomorrow I visit the quilters.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Chris says:

    Pam, you brought back such lovely memories with today’s post. After we’d been to Iona (breathtakingly beautiful!) we decided to go to Kells to visit the monastery where the book was supposedly fully/partly written….I recall a very long ladder up to an upper floor. Pretty amazing to think that such a beautiful book was created in what can only be described as a very austere environment.
    Enjoy Ireland!

  2. Pam says:

    Thanks Chris, it’s just a few days but I’m making the most of my time.

Leave a Reply