The townspeople of Kells, Co. Meath have called on Trinity College to do the “honourable and right thing” and return at least part of the famous Book of Kells to the town it originated from.
The Kells Heritage Centre, which has been in operation for the past ten years, has recently closed due to a lack of funding. The Centre had been running at a loss of €88,000 a year and is in need of significant investment and repairs to the building.
The book has been in the College since 1661, when the town of Kells sent the book to the College for safe-keeping during the Cromwellian invasion. A source at the Centre has said that “safe it may be, but for all the value it now is to Kells it may as well have been taken by Cromwell and burned”.
Trinity College Librarian, Robin Adams, said he couldn’t comment on a request for the donation as he has not received “any request on these lines”. However, he has said that it is College policy that the manuscript is not loaned elsewhere for exhibition. He has also said that the College is conscious of the responsibility to share the manuscript with the wider community which they do through the exhibition in the Old Library and the production of an electronic facsimile on DVD. Mr. Adams said the College would give due consideration to any request received by it in relation to the loan of the manuscript to Kells, but to date it has received no such request.