Imagine your mission is to protect one of the most famous books in the whole world. A beautiful and intricate illuminated manuscript that contains the four Gospels of the New Testament that was created by Celtic monks around the year 800. This was the challenge that Peter Finn, Ireland’s Favourite TV Builder and one of the Constructive Voices presenters, faced a while ago.
Yes, we are talking about The Book of Kells with its elaborate spiral and interlace patterns, images of animals and birds, which is housed in Trinity College Library in Dublin, Ireland.
The Book of Kells was probably created by monks at the monastery of Iona, off the coast of Scotland. It is unclear how the book made its way to Ireland, where it was eventually donated to the University of Dublin in 1661.
Today, the Book of Kells is on display at Trinity College Library, where visitors can see its ornate pages up close. Despite its age, the Book of Kells remains an awe-inspiring work of art that continues to fascination scholars and laypeople alike.
“I’m sure everybody’s heard of the Book of Kells. It’s the oldest Christian scripture in existence in the world. We were given the project of creating a protection mobile around the Book of Kells, which was a labour of love.”
The Book of Kells receives over a million visitors each year. In fact, in 2021, after it reopened after COVID restrictions, 78,000 people visited the Book of Kells between May and October.
“You have to have an eye to be able to blend the old with the new in as seamless away as you possibly can. And it takes skill and it takes the right people to do it. It’s not the type of construction where you can get a load of lads in on price, and push them and force them to get a job done in a set period of time.”
So it seems that you know what you are doing, what could possibly go wrong?
“The worst thing that can happen is you actually find a literal skeleton in the closet because it means everything has to stop and you have to rethink what you’re doing….”
Written by: Jackie De Burca