Sunday, March 29, 2009

Book of Kells


Our last day in Dublin (and Ireland) was two weeks ago today. We used it to tour the Trinity College Library, home of the Book of Kells. The Book of Kells is a 680 page illuminated manuscript created by Celtic monks in the 8th century; is is among the most ornate and beautiful of its kind. Tt was taken from Iona (Scotland) to Ireland in the early 9th to protect it from Viking raiders. It's now viewed as one of Ireland's greatest national treasures.

In the exhibit leading up to the actual book, we also learned a lot about the labor and precision involved in producing more than just the ornate drawings; preparation of the vellum pages, transcription of the text, and binding of the book were all skillful endeavors. In all, the skins of 150 calves were used for the vellum pages of the Book of Kells!

After seeing the Book of Kells, we ended our stay at the library in The Long Room, which is the oldest part of the library that houses some 200,000 very old and delicate books. This may not sound impressive to you, but rest assured that entering the 200 foot long hall, with its towering shelves filled with ancient books and sunlight filtering through monstrous windows, instills an instant and imposing sense of reverence. Also in this section of the library was the Trinity College Harp. The harp, of course, is not just a symbol you'll find on your Guiness; it has also long been used as a symbol for Ireland.

1 comment:

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