World Famous Book of Kells: 10 Facts you Need to Know

The Book of Kells and the Old Library


Dublin is full of surprises, the Book of Kells is one of them. Dublin  is also rich in history and exhibits. The old style castles alone take you back to the time of clans and feuds, connecting your spirit to the events of old. It’s a wonderful experience and definitely something you should think of doing again and again. If you are fortunate enough to be in the capital of Ireland and find yourself wondering what to do in Dublin, this article is solely for you.

Try to go sightseeing. There are a lot of interesting things to do and places to visit in Dublin. Take for instance the book of Kells and the Old Library.  Internationally known because of the intimate and very important artifact contained in it, the Old Library is definitely a place you need to put in your itinerary. It is one of the fun things to do in Dublin and you should make the old Library one of your pit stops, you won’t regret it. Don’t pass up any opportunity to see the Book of Kells, you may end up blaming yourself. You would benefit from it and if you have kids, you can make it a fun event by taking them to the Old Library and then a picnic on the wonderful grounds of the Trinity College where the Library is located.

10 Facts you need to know about the Book of Kells

The Book of Kells is one of the world’s most beautiful books

The Book of Kells remains one of the world’s most famous and beautiful manuscripts with its ornately decorated pages written back around 800 AD. Placed in famous Trinity College, this book of the four gospels in Latin is one of Ireland’s treasures and most popular things to do.


The Book of Kells and the Old Library

The Book of Kells is a very old manuscript of the four books of the New Testament written in Latin. It is dated back to the 9th Century. The Book of Kells is very popular because of the intricacy of the calligraphy and illustrations found in it. It is also considered one of Dublins biggest national treasures.

The Old Library is one of the oldest Libraries in Ireland, built in the 18th century and located in the Trinity college, Dublin. It houses the famous Book of Kells.


Brief History of the Book of Kells

The Book of Kells got its name from the Abbey of Kells where it was found. From the studies done on the manuscript and its features, it is roughly estimated to have been written and produced in the late 8th or early 9th century. The books origin has been in contest for a while with different locations in mind but today, you can see the Book of Kells at the old Library located in Trinity college, Dublin.

Nobody Knows where the Book of Kells was written

There has been a whole lot of conjecture and guesses but the fact remains that no one truly knows where the Book of Kells originated from. Some people believe that it could have been written by the monks in the Abbey of Kells. Other think that it was done in Iona and then moved to the Abbey of Kells. These are however conjectures and until proven, no one knows where the Book of Kells was written although we know it was written by the monks of Iona.


Book of Kells illustrations 

The illustrations of the Book of Kells would forever be one of its most astounding features. The colorful and very detailed designs in bright colors of red, yellow and green look like something out of a picture. The intricacies, complexity and attention to the slightest of details discredits the fact that it was hand written by humans.


The Book of Kells was most likely not completed

The Book of Kells is thought to be incomplete. Modern researchers have come to this conclusion because of the blank pages that still remained in the book. Another evidence pointing towards this theory is that there are pages of outlines that were never completed. However this is still a guess.  Nobody knows for sure if the Book of Kells was completed and lost or if it was still in the process of completion and why it was never completed.


The Book of Kells was written by 3 different people

This famous book was hand copied by the monks in the order of St. Columba, Iona and it was not done by one monk. The evidence gleaned from the book shows that it was written by 3 different monks of whom we know nothing about even their names. Whoever they were though, they did a really good job.


It was not originally intended for day to day reading

What a shame right? The Book of Kells with all of its beautiful and complex illustrations was made to serve in a more decorative capacity than a practical one. It does make a bit of sense too. Why go through all of that stress and time to painstakingly make this work of art and then give it out to every one or anyone to read. It would have been destroyed early by overuse.


The Book of Kells was stolen from the Abbey of Kells

The Book of Kells was stolen from the Abbey of Kells in the year 1006 after surviving so many raids against the abbey. It was later found but without the gold jeweled cover it sported before.


The Book  was donated to the library of Trinity college Dublin

After many years of keeping the manuscript safe, the manuscript was given to the governor in the year, 1654 after the Abbey was surrounded by an army. It was later donated to the trinity college Dublin in the year, 1661.


Book of Kells Tickets

Kids under 12 go free

€11 – 14€28€12€10



Book Of Kells Opening hours

The Book of Kells Exhibition is open 7 days a week.

1 May – 30 September1 October – 30 April
Monday08:30 – 17:00Monday09:30 – 17:00
Tuesday08:30 – 17:00Tuesday09:30 – 17:00
Wednesday08:30 – 17:00Wednesday09:30 – 17:00
Thursday08:30 – 17:00Thursday09:30 – 17:00
Friday08:30 – 17:00Friday09:30 – 17:00
Saturday08:30 – 17:00Saturday09:30 – 17:00
Sunday09:30 – 17:00Sunday12:00 – 16:30



Different time table on Bank Holidays in Ireland

New Years DaySt Patricks DayGood FridayEaster MondayMay DayJune HolidayAugust HolidayOctober HolidayChristmas DaySt Stephens Day
closed12:00 – 16:3012:00 – 16:3012:00 – 16:3009:30 – 17:0009:30 – 17:0009:30 – 17:0012:00 – 16:30closedclosed




There are so many interesting facts about the Book of Kells that you can glean online but the true appreciation and understanding of this true work of art would be gotten when you actually pay a visit to the old Library.