Book of Kells

Welcome to Tursan Tuesdays, where I take you on a journey through the Celtic world.

The Book of Kells, one of Ireland’s national treasures and considered one of the finest of all Celtic Christian creations, is an illuminated manuscript containing the four Gospels of the New Testament.

courtesy of

It is thought the Book of Kells was originally begun by Irish monks on Iona sometime in the eighth or ninth centuries, and then taken to Ireland during the Viking raids for safekeeping.

courtesy of

Consisting of 680 calfskin pages, the text of which is written in Latin, it necessitated a veritable army of artists and calligraphers to complete. Most scholars and historians believe it took roughly thirty years to finalize this monumental manuscript!

Dr. Timothy Graham, Associate Professor at the University of New Mexico’s Institute of Medieval Studies, gives a wonderful lecture on the Book of Kells and its history. I’ve included an excerpt for you to enjoy.

So talk to me. What did you think? Do you know about the Book of Kells? What do you think of the artistry and imagery? What are your thoughts on how Christianity influenced Celtic traditions?


8 thoughts on “Book of Kells

  1. No I hadn’t heard of the book of Kells but all things Celtic are done with great care and love. I’m glad you share this wonderful culture with us.

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