The Book of Kells is set to be removed from public display in Trinity College, Dublin for four months.

The Long Room in the Trinity College Library
The Book of Kells, which is housed at the Long Room in Trinity College, will be removed from public display for four months ©VanderWolf Images/Shutterstock

The Book of Kells is one of Ireland's most popular attractions. Last year more than one million people visited the 9th century manuscript display at Trinity College's Old Library, including Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. But from 4 November until early March 2020, the book will be removed from public display.

Trinity College announced that from Monday it is starting the first phase of a major conservation project at its 18th century library, which requires the removal of the Book of Kells, to safeguard the building's structure and conserve the precious collections for future generations. 

Celtic manuscript depicting St. Matthew in the Book of Kells
A page from the Book of Kells depicting St. Matthew © Images

During this period, the Book of Kells 'Turning Darkness into Light' exhibition will remain open to the public. Tickets will be reduced by 15% during the course of the renovation. A full colour replica of the precious manuscript will also be available to view in the Long Room at the Old Library during renovation.

The Book of Kells is the jewel in the library's crown. Recognised by UNESCO as a Memory of the World, the illuminated manuscript of the Latin Gospels has survived 1000 years (give or take a century or two). Much about the book's origin is uncertain but most scholars agree that it originated in the later years of the eighth century by monks at St Colmcille's Monastery on Iona, a remote island just off the west coast of Scotland

Rows of bookshelves with leather-bound old manuscripts in the Long Room at Trinity College
The Long Room is a treasure trove of early edition books ©Olivier Cirendini/Lonely Planet

Librarian and College Archivist, Helen Shenton said: "We take our role as stewards of this wonderful national treasure very seriously. 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."

Discounted entry to the Book of Kells exhibition is reduced from €14 to €12 for adults, while family entry (two adults and two children) is reduced from €28 to €24.

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