Friday, June 19, 2015

Book of Kells and Trinity College, Dublin

The Book of Kells was for me the foremost tourist attraction of Dublin. It resides in the Old Library in Trinity College.  After a marvellous Best Western breakfast, Laura and I walked to Trinity College,crossing the Liffey River, to pass from North Dublin into South Dublin.  Enterring the magnificent Trinity College we were surrounded by beautiful young people in gowns with their families.  As a bit of God’s synchronicity foot prints in my life, it was the graduation of Trinity College Medical Students.  It’s hard to believe I was ever so young. Also the innocence and enthusiasm on those young faces was touching to behold. Form a brief moment, I remembered fondly Mom and Dad at my medical school graduation. Maybe  I really once was young.  Maybe I once was as innocent and not nearly so weary as today.
Laura and I loved walking about the grounds, enjoying the old buildings.on this sunny day. We took selfies before the 30 m high Campanile.  Arnold Pomodoro’s sculpture of a Sphere within a Sphere was beautiful before the Berkeley Library.  We’d arrived early enough that the line up for the Books of Kells in the Old Library wasn’t long at all.  The museum was informative explaining the making of the vellum sheets from calf hide and the source of the colouring of the ink. I’ve always loved books and libraries since childhood. The Bible has been a part of my life since early days in Sunday School.  I was moved to learn of that all books, before the printing press, had to be copied by hand. The Celtic monks were the greatest of scribes and artists.  In the museum they had on display palm sized gospels that missionary monks carried with them on their travels through Europe.  Cahill’s How the Irish Saved Civilization best describes those journeys of enlightenment.
The Book of Kells itself was made around 800 AD on the sacred island of Iona.  It was later brought to Kells, County Meath.  The text is based on the Vulgate, the version of the Bible completed by St. Jerome in 384 AD. In the museum I loved the enlarged almost life sized folio page of St. John.  In the illustrated introduction Book of Kells by Bernard Meehan, it states that Pope Gregory the Great is said to have taught that images provided “a living reading of the Lord’s story for those who cannot read”.  Most of the illustration in the Book of Kells is of initial letters.  The Celts as an empire spread in the 3rd and 4th century from the Atlantic to the eastern europe and the Mediterranean collecting artistic styles from all these regions. The Book of Kells embodied the highest imagery of this highly artistic people.  I was truly moved to see the actual book despite the glass and crowd.  I am awed by the devotion and evangelism of these monks.
Later Laura and I would sit in prayer in the Trinity College Chapel.  A Holy Bible was there. opened to a psalm. I read from that Bible realizing how easily I take for granted the gift we have today, The greatest story ever told is so readily available for reading yet I like most take this for granted.
Photography were not allowed in the Book of Kells museum.  Upstairs from the Book of Kells was the Long Room with the most amazing collection of old books, the greatest writing of the age.  Laura felt she’d been there before.It was a library of libraries, a wonderland for book lovers.
Next a stop in the Book of Kells and Trinity College gift store to load up on fridge magnets, post cards and gifts for loved ones back home.  Then after a coffee on campus, Laura and I, armed with our Lonely Planet , Discover Ireland guide book, headed down Dame Street for more sightseeing adventure.

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