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Kells

In this video, Rachel Moss and Fáinche Ryan describe the location of one of the earliest references to the Book of Kells.

In 1007AD, chroniclers recorded that the great gospel of Colum Cille, most precious relic of the Western world, had been stolen from the western annexe of the church at Kells.

This is the earliest certain reference that we have to the manuscript now known as the Book of Kells.

Today Kells is a bustling market town, but there are still significant reminders of the early church settlement here. Its unusual curved street pattern reflects the early Christian enclosure around the monastery. The round tower and St Colum Cille’s ‘house’ are remnants of the eleventh-century landscape of the monastery, and the fine carved stone high crosses demonstrate an art style that on the one hand is quite different to that of the manuscript, but on the other speaks to many of the same themes.

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The Book of Kells: Exploring an Irish Medieval Masterpiece

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