My husband and I recently visited Ireland for the first time – a destination that had long been on our ‘bucket list’. The magical green island lived up to our expectations, with its rich history, culture, lively music, welcoming people, and simply stunning landscapes. But one landmark was particularly memorable for us both.
Housed within Trinity College in Dublin, the Book of Kells is believed to be over 1200 years old. During times of violent Christian persecution, a number of monks in abbeys across Ireland painstakingly and magnificently copied the four gospels of Jesus onto 680 pages, often by candlelight. The illustrations and calligraphy are breathtakingly colorful and complex in design. This astonishing work of medieval art is deserving of its description as Ireland’s foremost national treasure.
Ordinary pictures don’t do justice to its haunting loveliness. The exhibit also featured a display which showed how the ink colors were extracted from powders made of stones, plants and even insects…it’s practically impossible to fathom the time and effort involved, in the dark ages. And, how could these scribes overcome the tediousness of such an effort, over months, years, even decades?
Yet, as I contemplated these sacred pages behind the protective glass, I could imagine how their work might lead them to be caught up in meditative states. Perhaps, even whispering prayers as they created this gift of worship to our Lord, intended for use during special liturgical celebrations and ceremonies.
Small wonder, that long lines of visitors await when the doors open at 9 am. Despite the crowds, the atmosphere inside the Book of Kells exhibit is hushed and reverent.
What a wonderful reminder of the preciousness of our gospels, carefully handed down over the centuries! And of how fortunate we are today, that we can easily access bibles and scriptures any time we wish, in so many different formats.
–Have you visited any destinations that brought you a spiritual experience or a new perspective?
-Is there a must-see you’d like to share with us?