Well, this is what we did not get to see but I am aware that some of our blog readers might get a chance to actually go to Ireland on holidays so a here’s something worth seeing.
On the way between Dublin and Cavan you can find the amazing Book of Kells, thanks to Joe who was our devoted care taker at least we found out about it.
The Book of Kells is an illuminated manuscript in Latin, that contains the four Gospels of the New Testament, a fragment of Hebrew names, and the Eusebian canons. It is also known as “Book of Columba”, probably because it was written in the monastery of Iona to honour the saint.
It was transcribed by Celtic monks, and it is a masterpiece of Western calligraphy, representing the pinnacle of Insular illumination.
The Book of Kells is considered to be Ireland’s finest national treasure and the most imporatant relic of Irish art that has been preserved. Unfortunately the airplane captain would have not been impressed by our wish to see it so we had to drive by, to hurry and report to check-in.
The illustrations and ornaments are complex and extravagant, the decoration combining traditional Christian iconography with the ornate swirling motifs typical of Insular art.
The drawings represent figures of humans, animals and mythical beasts, as well as knotwork and interlacing patterns in vivid colours. Many of the minor decorative elements are imbued with Christian symbolism and so further emphasize the themes of the major illustrations.
Although some small portions at the beginning and the end of the manuscript were lost, it is in a very good state of preservation. Some of the ornaments remain only in outline, this leading to the assumption that it was left unfinished. The Book of Kells is written in black, red, purple or yellow ink. It has been thought that two unknown scribes worked on the writing and illumination of the manuscript.