Book of Kells

North Western Europes most famous manuscript , containing illuminated copies of the Gospels , from circa 800.

The Book of Kells was preserved in the Columban monastery at Kells , in County Meath , until 1653.

Set up in the ninth century by monks from Iona , the monastery at Kells became the head of all the Columban monasteries.

The Book of Kells was stolen from the monastery at Kells in 1007 , but rediscovered – minus its cover – some time afterward.

Iona is currently viewed as the most likely place of origin , but the book remained in Kells until the seventeenth century , when it was given to Trinity College , Dublin , where it is still preserved.

The manuscript was written and illuminated by three , or more , hands. Its most intricate and miniscule scale ornament of spiral , interlace , animal , and key pattern decoration , as well as its portraits of Christ , Evangelists , and the Mother and Child , make this book a marvel of inventiveness and exuberant colour.

One element , lapis lazuli , had been imported from as far away as Afghanistan.

On a tour of Ireland with Ireland Luxury Tours we visit Dublin and advise clients to go and see the Book of Kells.