The Book of Kells to be removed from public view for the coming months

The manuscript will be replaced with a replica until early March 2020

The Book of Kells is due to be removed from its position of public display from next Monday. The manuscript will be replaced with a replica for four months, due to conservation work required on the manuscript’s display area. 

The manuscript is housed in Trinity’s Old Library and is due to be removed while “necessary” works are carried out on its display area. This is part of a wider conservation and preservation plan for the Old Library. 

The Book of Kells is considered to be one of the world’s most famous medieval manuscripts. Last year alone more than one million people visited the exhibition, which is considered one of the main tourist attractions in Dublin. 

The Book of Kells has brought many esteemed visitors to Trinity’s doors through the years, most recently being Britain’s Prince Harry and his wife Meghan Markle during their visit in July 2018

A spokeswoman for Trinity said that College “purposefully coincided the works with the low season for tourism” to lessen any potential financial impact due to any drop in visitor numbers.

In recent years the numbers visiting the city centre campus to see the Book of Kells has increased from 662,679 people in 2014 to more than one million last year, with more than a third coming from the United States.

A College Spokesperson for Trinity told the Irish Times that the Book of Kells exhibition would remain open despite the book being shelved. 

They also stated that a full colour replica will be put on display in its place in the library Long Room, and there will be a 15 per cent discount on exhibition tickets while the manuscript is in storage.

Helen Shenton, the college archivist and librarian, said Trinity “take our role as stewards of this wonderful national treasure very seriously”.

She stated: “We apologise in advance for the temporary inconvenience caused and look forward to reopening the new display of this magnificent national treasure for the visiting public and our community of students and scholars.”

The 9th century manuscript will be removed from public display next Monday, November 4. It is due to return to the library in the start of March 2020.

Shannon Connolly

Shannon Connolly is the Editor-in-Chief of the 69th volume Trinity News, and a Senior Sophister student of English Literature and Philosophy. She previously served as Deputy Editor, News Editor and Assistant News Editor.