Ahh, the Book of Kells
The Book of Kells. It must be a book written by a monk order of the Kells? Monks, yes, Kells, no. My tour guide Brian was highly knowledgeable about this question and many other questions and he provided some great information. The internet is amazing when looking stuff up and trying to extract information, but sometimes, being there, being in the moment, seeing, touching (what you can) and breathing it in is the best teacher.
While I have traveled only a bit compared to others, I have learned that when I want to see or do something that would be most beneficial with a tour then that is what I am going to do! Some people only do tours, I do like to venture out on my own for somethings, but for things with a deep history, a tour is the way to go.
Brian gave us a rundown of the Book of Kells and its origins and why it comes to rest here at Trinity College. Book of Kells.
The book or manuscript has the four Gospels all written in Latin. Brian told us that it was young men they surmise about the ages of 15-19 that were the “writers” of the book. It is the Gospels of Mark, Luke, John, and Matthew.
There are no photos allowed of the actual Book of Kells, but the anteroom has all of this amazing information about the Book and how it was prepared. It was written on calfskin or vellum, in a style of art that is post-Roman and called insular majuscule.
After being about to see the Book, which by the way so incredible, did you know it was bound with a beautiful cover full of gold and jewels, and as Brian told us, the Vikings raided Ireland many times and stayed for quite a long time during the “creation of Dublin”, but that is another story
This book gets its name from the Abbey in Kells in the County Meath, it is believed that it was created and founded about the year 562 by St. Colum Cille on Iona, an island off the west coast of Scotland.
I have been to Iona! Amazing, that I did not do my research when I went there. Whew such an amazing world, right?
In the year 806, after a Viking raid on Iona which left 68 of the monks dead, the Columban monks took refuge in a new monastery at Kells, County Meath. It must have been close to about the year 800 that Book of Kells was written.
There really is no way of knowing if this book was produced entirely at Iona or at Kells, or a little at each location. It was never finished in its entirety, for reasons unknown. In 1653, it was kept at Trinity College for safe-keeping. What a gift and what a blessing for so much of it to be intact at this point in time, some 1200 years later.
The Long Room
Wow, after seeing the Book of Kells, what is next? The Long Room. A library we were told that “inspired” George Lucas for the “Jedi” archives. It has been hotly debated and denied by George Lucas but if you go there, you can’t help but think this!
Just standing and smelling the old books and old wood in the library was such a treat. I love libraries and to know that there so many famous people that attended Trinity College and sat in that library and studied was super cool to imagine. Bram Stoker was a student at Trinity College as well as so many other famous and important people.
I took a selfie with Socrates. My lashes look better than his.
We spent about a little over an hour here before we set off for Dublin Castle. Brian also showed us the harp that is the symbol of Guinness and flipped around the symbol for Ireland.
Hard to see with the reflection, but it is very significant here in Ireland. This is the oldest harp at Trinity College, also known as the Brian Boru or the O’Neill harp. It is there in the Long Room at Trinity College. Imagine how it survived all of these years. Amazing!
I am sure I have not done the Book of Kells, the Long Room or Trinity College justice with all the history, but let me tell you, it was a great tour and I recommend it to anyone new to Dublin and enjoys a nice walk, this is a great tour.
After we left here, we headed to Dublin Castle. Follow me to read more about Dublin Castle and the significance it had and has now.
As always, comments or corrections are appreciated!
Feicfidh mé go luath thú