The Book of Kells was written in the neighborhood of 800AD, probably at Iona (or Applecross) in Scotland or maybe in Kells, County Meath, Ireland. It’s also known as the Book of Columba, as tradition has it that it was written to celebrate the 200th anniversary of his death. St Columba died in 597AD. Two hundred years later Viking warships loomed on the horizon at Iona, and so it’s possible that the Book of Kells was smuggled to Ireland to be kept safe from the hands of the Norse raiders. No one knows for certain. What is certain is that the Culdees who wrote and inscribed the Book of Kells have laced its vellum pages with great beauty and as yet unexplained mystery.
Have you ever just taken a few minutes to sit and gaze at the incredible artistry of this treasure? Of course not, say you, as you have never been to Trinity College in Dublin where the Book of Kells rests. Ah, but now you can examine each and every folio (680 pages in total) by visiting Trinity College Dublin Digital Collections.
This is truly one of those incredible advantages of the world wide webs. Do yourself a favor and take a moment to visit The Book of Kells. Pour a dram and study the gorgeousness of the intricacy. Read about the tools used to create this art. If you are a celt, the Book of Kells is part of you and you are part of it.
Enjoy being Scottish!