As I look over at my bookcase, I can’t help but notice the travel books jumping out at me from the shelf. I have a travel itch (again). I have a craving for another adventure.
Two years ago I travelled through Ireland and Europe. I drove through Ireland by myself for two weeks. Starting in Dublin, I visited Newgrange, Downpatrick, Belfast, Bushmills, Enniskillen, Galway, Cork and Kilkenny. My travels around Ireland were very personally significant for me. I’d wanted to see it for years.
In Dublin, one of my highlights was seeing the Book of Kells. Seeing the Book of Kells was like one of those ‘pinch yourself’ moments. I can’t describe how I felt. I wish I had the words. You couldn’t wipe the grin off my face. I lingered in the room for as long as possible, trying to convince myself it was real. As I moved on into the Old Trinity College Library (I should write about another time), I picked up brochures about the conservation program and desperately wanted to be upstairs working on maintaining rare and very old manuscripts. I secretly hoped someone would see how happy I was to be there and perhaps show me around. 😉
When viewing the Book of Kells, photos are (usually) not allowed. So unfortunately I cannot share my own.
The Book of Kells was written (or should I say created) by Irish monks in the 8th Century. It was started on the island of Iona, then later moved to the monastery in Kells, where it was finished. The Book of Kells is an illuminated copy of the four gospels, written in Latin. Pages were made from calf vellum and the covers were encrusted with gold and jewels. The manuscript is unsurpassed for its beauty, skill and decoration. It is believed the Book of Kells remained in Kells until the 17th century when Cromwell gave the book to Trinity College in Dublin (or the Archbishop of Ussher presented it). Disagreement remains as to the origins of the Book of Kells and how it ended up at Trinity College Dublin.
McCaffrey, C. & Eaton, L. 2002. In Search of Ancient Ireland. Chicago: New Amsterdam Books.