The extraordinary journey of the Book of Kells

The theme of our 2019 Creative Competition is Irish Culture and the Book of Kells and there are endless stories to tell about the world’s most famous medieval manuscript.

The Book of Kells was created around the year 800AD and researchers believe that it was originally produced in a monastery on the Scottish island of Iona. It appears to have been created by three artists and four scribes. When Iona was attacked by Vikings, the surviving monks moved to a sister monastery in Kells, Co. Meath. Some scholars believe that it was here that the Book of Kells was finished.

The Book of Kells remained in the town of Kells until 1653, when it was moved to Dublin after the town suffered serious damage during military occupation in the wars of the 17th century.

The Bishop of Meath presented the Book of Kells to Trinity College Dublin for safe keeping between 1661-82 and it has been housed in the University’s library ever since.

Today the 1,200 year old manuscript is on display in Trinity’s Old Library building, with a team of conservationists working year-round to preserve and protect it.  A record 1 million people visited the Book of Kells in 2018 and it continues to fascinate people worldwide.

Get inspired by the stories behind the Book of Kells and create a drawing or painting, poem or short story for the Book of Kells Creative Competition 2019.

Why not get your creativity flowing by visiting the Book of Kells, which is open 7 days a week or visit the Get Inspired section on our website today.