Monday, August 26, 2013

The Book of Kells - amazing!

After visiting the monastic settlement, Damian took us see the scenic Lough Tay and the Guinness Estate, also in County Wicklow.

The Guinness Estate is shown in the right, in this picture.
 Lough Tay is a small but scenic lake set in the Wicklow Mountains in County Wicklow, Ireland. It lies between the mountains of Djouce and Luggala, and is most easily viewed from above. It is fed by the Cloghoge River, which then drains into Lough Dan to the south.
The northern coastline forms part of an estate belonging to the Guinness family (shown in the photo above); it is edged with a beach of startlingly white sand, the dark peaty water and the white sand create a striking similarity to a pint (a glass) of Guinness. (Wikipedia)

 The mountain forms a part of the (9.7 square mile) Luggala Estate (also known as the Guinness Estate), which is owned by wealthy arts patron Garech Browne, a member of the Guinness family. The buildings on the estate, including the luxurious Luggala Lodge (aka "Luggala Castle"), are rented commercially year-round. The estate has been used as the location of some major films, including Zardoz and Excalibur. (Wikipedia)

Damian told us they were filming a Viking movie just before we were there.

A lot of the roads in Ireland look like this one.

Who wants to go "hill walking" with me in Ireland?

Here I am with my friend Eileen.  It was a beautiful day - just a wee bit windy up where we were.

Afterwards Damian took us all back to Dublin where we ate lunch in a pub called O'Neill's.  I can't remember what John and Eileen had, but Mike finally got some pub fish and chips and I had Shepherd's Pie.  Delicious.

After lunch, Mike and I went to Trinity College to view the Book of Kells.  I wanted to make sure we got to see it this time!  It was pretty awesome too, I must say.

In this picture, Arnaldo Pomodoro's Sphere Within Sphere sculpture stands outside the Berkeley Library.

Trinity College was founded in 1592 and is one of seven ancient universities of Britain and Ireland, as well as Ireland's oldest university.

The picture below is taken from the back of the line (I mean Q) where we were waiting to get into see the Book of Kells, which is in the original (old) library.
 The Library of Trinity College is the largest research library in Ireland. As a result of its historic standing, Trinity College Library Dublin is a legal deposit library (as per Legal Deposit Libraries Act 2003) for the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and has a similar standing in Irish law. The College is therefore legally entitled to a copy of every book published in Great Britain and Ireland and consequently receives over 100,000 new items every year. The Library contains about five million books and significant collections of manuscripts, maps, and printed music. (Wikipedia)

The Book of Kells is by far the Library's most famous book and is located in the Old Library, along with the Book of Durrow, the Book of Howth and other ancient texts. Also incorporating the Long Room, the Old Library is one of Ireland's biggest tourist attractions, and holds thousands of rare, and in many cases very early, volumes. In the 18th century, the college received the Brian Boru harp, one of the three surviving medieval Gaelic harps, and a national symbol of Ireland, which is now housed in the library. (Wikipedia)

The Book of Kells was amazing to see in person.  Such intricate detail, vivid colors, and all from such an old manuscript.  I'm so glad we waited in the Q!  (It only took about 20 minutes by the way :)

The Long Room

The main chamber of the Old Library is the Long Room, and at nearly 65 metres in length, it is filled with 200,000 of the Library’s oldest books. When built (between 1712 and 1732) it had a flat plaster ceiling and shelving for books was on the lower level only, with an open gallery. By the 1850s these shelves had become completely full; largely as since 1801 the Library had been given the right to claim a free copy of every book published in Britain and Ireland. In 1860 the roof was raised to allow construction of the present barrel-vaulted ceiling and upper gallery bookcases.
 Marble busts line the Long Room, a collection that began in 1743 when 14 busts were commissioned from sculptor Peter Schemakers. The busts are of the great philosophers and writers of the western world and also of men connected with Trinity College - famous and not so famous. The finest bust in the collection is of the writer Jonathan Swift by Louis Francois Roubiliac.
Other treasures in the Long Room include one of the few remaining copies of the 1916 Proclamation of the Irish Republic which was read outside the General Post Office on 24 April 1916 by Patrick Pearse at the start of the Easter Rising. The harp is the oldest of its kind in Ireland and probably dates from the 15th century. It is made of oak and willow with 29 brass strings. It is the model for the emblem of Ireland. (Trinity College website)

The Long Room was incredible and overwhelming.  We could take pictures in here but not of the Book of Kells, of course.  You can, and should google "images of The Book of Kells".

The Book of Kells is an illuminated manuscript Gospel book, in Latin, containing the four Gospels of the New Testament. It was created by Celtic Monks around the year 800, or slightly earlier.  It is widely regarded as Ireland's finest national treasure.

The manuscript today comprises 340 folios and, since 1953, has been bound in four volumes. The leaves are on high-quality calf vellum, and the unprecedentedly elaborate ornamentation that covers them includes ten full-page illustrations and text pages that are vibrant with decorated initials and interlinear miniatures. The Insular majuscule script of the text itself appears to be the work of at least three different scribes. The lettering is in iron gall ink, and the colours used were derived from a wide range of substances, many of which were imports from distant lands.
The manuscript takes its name from the Abbey of Kells that was its home for centuries. Today, it is on permanent display at the Trinity College Library, Dublin. The library usually displays two of the current four volumes at a time, one showing a major illustration and the other showing typical text pages.  (Wikipedia)

No comments:

Post a Comment