Book of Kells online
March 19, 2014 9:55 PM   Subscribe

Trinity College Dublin has added high-quality scans of the Book of Kells to their archives. These scans are now viewable by the public online.
posted by daisystomper (9 comments total) 46 users marked this as a favorite
Fantastic, these are beautiful. Now we need high quality scans of Pangur Bán.
posted by Bistle at 10:26 PM on March 19, 2014 [2 favorites]

Staggering. Tens of thousands of hours of work by monks huddled over their desks, copying text and adding illustrations of their own making.

Reminds me of the joke told to me in a Dublin pub in 1980 when I first saw the Book of Kells.

A young monk arrives at Trinity College and is set to working on one page, copying the text from a handwritten piece of paper given to him by the abbot. After a few weeks of diligent work, the monk asks the abbott about the text "How do we know that this is the word of God?"

"Well me boy, we have the original down in the cellar," says the abbott.

"Really? Can I see it?"

"No. It is old and fragile and only I and one other monk are permitted to see the original book," comes the reply.

"Would you do me a favour holy father" asks the monk, "and make sure that this text is correct."

"With pleasure me boy," answers the abbott who disappears down into the cellar.

After about an hour, the monk hears wailing coming from the cellar and sees the abbot emerge looking shocked.

"CELEBRATE," cries the abbot, "The damn thing says CELEBRATE."
posted by three blind mice at 11:33 PM on March 19, 2014 [10 favorites]

This is incredibly cool, what the internet is for. Having said that, if you get the chance to see the Book of Kells in person, don't miss it. Not only are the books astounding but hey, you're in Dublin!
posted by chavenet at 6:43 AM on March 20, 2014 [2 favorites]

Now we need high quality scans of Pangur Bán.

I think you can find those on, although that's sure a strange site.
posted by daisystomper at 7:27 AM on March 20, 2014 [1 favorite]

Oh this is good thanks for the post. I got the iPad app (for free) last year; I can't remember if it was St P's day or not. I do hope the web version is permanent? There doesn't seem to be much in the way of official announcement around, save for a plug on the library's Facebook page.
posted by peacay at 7:34 AM on March 20, 2014

It is--this actually happened last year, but it's been circulating around again this year.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 9:48 AM on March 20, 2014

So gorgeous. Every time one of these comes up, I always thank $DEITY that I live in a time where the internet makes so many treasures I would have given my eye teeth to see when I was in grad school available to so many.
posted by immlass at 10:07 AM on March 20, 2014

I had this exact idea, years ago! My family owns a reproduction copy of the Book of Kells, and I considered building a website hosting scans from it, as a project for an HTML class I was taking at the time. Back then, however, I didn't have enough storage capacity, and patience, to do the job properly, so I blew the idea off...
posted by littlejohnnyjewel at 12:19 PM on March 20, 2014

This is great. Thanks, daisystomper.
posted by homunculus at 5:53 PM on March 22, 2014

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