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The Book of Kells, Ireland’s Greatest Cultural Treasure, Will Be Taken Off Display for Four Months

Ireland News Insider Guides
by Eben Diskin Nov 4, 2019

Dublin’s Trinity College Old Library building is deceptive. Although magnificent on the outside, uninformed passersby can hardly imagine the riches it contains.

But only very few people walking the cobblestones of Trinity College are unaware of what goes on in the Old Library — over one million people visited it in 2018, including Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.

Besides the jaw-dropping Long Room and its 250,000 books, the main treasure to be found in the 18th-century building is the Book of Kells, a medieval gospel manuscript often described as Ireland’s greatest cultural treasure. The book, believed to have been produced by monks in the early ninth century, documents in Latin the four gospels of the life of Jesus Christ, and is intricately decorated.

On November 4, however, the famed manuscript will be removed from its display and kept safe in storage until March 2020, due to conservation and preservation work in the Old Library.

The “Turning Darkness to Light” exhibition will remain open to the public, with ticket prices reduced by 15 percent. The exhibition will feature a full color replica of the book, and will still offer insight into the history of the manuscript. The Long Room will also remain open to visitors.

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