One of the greatest treasures in literary-rich Dublin is The Book of Kells, an illuminated manuscript produced by Celtic monks around a.d. 800. Housed in the Old Library at Trinity College, the magnificent tome contains the four Gospels of the Bible written in vividly colored, decorative script and adorned with ornate illustrations.
A famous bibliophile who once marveled at The Book of Kells was novelist Eudora Welty. “All the wizardry of letter, initial, and word swept over me. The illumination, the gold, seemed a part of the word’s beauty and holiness that had been there from the start,” she recalled in her autobiography One Writer’s Beginnings.
Other than trekking to Trinity College, there is another way to garner an up-close look at the medieval text. The library shop offers a DVD containing images of the first digitized version of the manuscript — all 340 folios — accompanied by a narrative account of its history, symbolism, and themes.
In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, visitors are invited to view the Book of Kells free of charge. —Shannon McKenna Schmidt