The Book of Kells is the crowning glory of the celtic illuminated manuscript art form, and one the most important Early Medieval treasures of Western Europe.  It contains the full text of the four gospels of the New Testament Bible in Latin.

Created on pages made from velum, (treated calf skin), the manuscript was illustrated in the elaborately ornate Hiberno-Saxon style depicting human and animal forms with intricate Celtic motifs.  Many rare and expensive pigments were used, some imported from the Mediterranean area.

The Book of Kells may have been written entirely at the monastery in Kells or begun at Iona in Scotland and then completed in Kells.

In 1653, The Book of Kells was sent to Dublin for safe keeping by Charles Lambert governor of Kells.  In 1661 it was donated to Trinity College by Henry Jones, Bishop of Meath.

You can view a copy of the Book in the Kells Courthouse Tourism and Cutural Hub, the Church of St. Columba on the Monastic Site, the Church of St. Colmcille in Headfort Place and in the Headfort Arms Hotel.  You can also purchase The Book of Kells CD ROM

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Did you know?

About 185 calf skins were used in the making of the Book of Kells.

The Monks kept a herd of as many as 1,200 cattle which also provided food and milk for the monsastery.

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