The monastery at Iona existed under the constant threat of Viking raids. After a devastating attack that cost sixty-eight members of their number their lives, the monks were forced to flee to a monastery at Kells in County Meath, Ireland, bearing their precious manuscript with them.
Here the book was guarded for centuries, passed from generation to generation, surviving the turmoils of history. After the book survived the destruction of the church that had given it its name, it passed through multiple keepers. In the end, it was entrusted to Trinity College in Dublin, where it remains today.
The Book of Kells is a testament to the faith, craftsmanship, and imagination of the monks who toiled over each colorful and intricate page. Even faded by the ravages of time, the colors of the inks shine forth in brilliant hues.
Elaborate flourishes fill every surface. The book showcases detailed design work, religious iconography, and scenes from nature near the island such as frolicking otters as well as exotic creatures like peacocks and lions.