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2020-05-20 00:02:34

The Abbey of Kells - an ancient monastery on the banks of the river

The Abbey of Kells - an ancient monastery on the banks of the river

An hour's drive from Dublin is an old abbey whose name is familiar to many only in Ireland, but also far beyond. The exact coordinates are Kells, County Meath. Over time, the inhabitants of the abbey have succeeded one another: could they have imagined that the abbey would attract people a thousand and a half years after its founding? In this picturesque riverside setting, you rest your soul, and as you recall its rich history, you touch the spirit of the times. If you go to Ireland, you decide to visit this place, be sure to spend as much time as possible: it's usually not crowded and cool, the birds sing, the wind rustles ... In short, what you need after the noisy urban forays to the attractions.

History of the monastery

Kells Abbey was founded in 554. No, that's not a typo - the building is really almost 1500 years old! St. Columbus is believed to be the founder of the monastery: his small house on the grounds of the abbey survives to this day.

The monastery, like most Irish sights, has come a long way; many times it has been the site of battles and sieges. Countless times the Vikings inflicted irreparable damage on Kells Abbey as they approached the shores in search of profit. The monks defended their monastery to the best of their ability, for which round towers were erected at the corners of the building.

The ecclesiastical reforms into which Ireland plunged in the 12th century put an end to the monastery: the monks were disbanded and the monastery fell into long decline.


The Book of Kell

The abbey is known as the site of the creation and preservation of the legendary Book of Kells, a manuscript published by the monks and residents of the monastery around 800. The Book of Kells contains the four Gospels, an introduction and interpretation written in Latin.

This book is of great value:

  • The text is accompanied by full-page and sometimes small illustrations interrupting the story.
  • The pigments for the drawings were collected all over Europe, some were brought from Afghanistan.
  • The 333 pages of the Book of Kell are "carpeted," all composed of intricate ornamentation
  • This manuscript contains the greatest number of illustrations of any literature in existence.

The Kells manuscript was in the abbey until 1650, nearly 400 years after the dissolution of the monastery. In 1650, Oliver Cromwell issued a decree transferring the relic to Dublin for better preservation. Today the book is housed in the Trinity College Museum.

Interesting Facts

  • In 2009, the cartoon "The Secret of Kells" was released, in which the Abbey "caught fire"
  • The abbey is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • On the territory of the monastery there is the "Columbus House" - the founder of the abbey, the monastery cemetery, outbuildings
  • Today the building belongs to the state.
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Egor Eremeev
Current material has been prepared by Egor Eremeev
Education: Westminster University (Business & Management), London.
Egor studied and lived in the UK for 8 years and graduated from the university of Westminster. He is currently the co-founder and the director of business development at Smapse Education and personally visits foreign schools and universities, interviews students studying in those institutions.
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