Book of Kells


I had an opportunity in December to make a short trip across to Ireland. At least, since I was already in North Wales as part of a month long overseas trip, it was a short trip. My daughter and I took the Ferry across one afternoon, stayed the night in the Temple Bar Inn, and made our way to Trinity College the next morning.

Book of Kells Calendar 001No photos are permitted within the exhibition, so I had to rely on someone else’s photo to illustrate this. Just hope I’m not violating a commercial copyright.(If so, happy to remove picture – just let me know.)

The exhibition, firstly takes you through a long hall filled with other manuscripts, stories of the monastic life of the creators, tales of the history of THE BOOK, and museum pieces from the era. It was a true miracle anything survived, let alone anything as wonderful as THE BOOK.

And then, into the presence of THE BOOK.

A simple glass case with two folios opened up – one at a title page, with all its glorious colour still as bright as the day it was created. The other open at a random page of text. All in Latin, of course, but even so, a magnificent piece of work. Even the detail of the inline illustrations was awe inspiring.

I was in the presence of one of the greatest God inspired creations of man. Centuries old, and still perfect. A true act of worship. Months later, I am still moved to tears just remembering that moment.

From there one staggers up the stairs and into the Long Hall of Trinity College Library. This was displaying early Children’s literature, a first edition of The Hobbit by J R R Tolkien, pocket bibles for the just learning to read, early versions of the Arthurian legend and stories of Cuchulain, and much more. Awe inspiring in its own right, but nothing to compare with what had gone before.

And then, of course, into the obligatory gift shop (from whence the calendar was purchased), and from there onto the Ferry and back to North Wales. A wonderful twenty four hours.

First Edition of The Hobbit   small bibles    Brut Chronicles, Arthurian Legend