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University Libraries

Books of Kells at UD

By Jennifer Brancato

In 2015, the University of Dayton added to its collections a breathtaking facsimile of the Book of Kells, an illuminated manuscript that the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) calls “Ireland's greatest historical treasure” and “one of the most spectacular examples of medieval Christian art in the world.”

A gift of Dennis M. Newell ’76, the Easton Press limited-edition reproduction makes accessible the intricate calligraphy, elaborate Celtic designs and colorful illustrations of the original, which is on display in the library of Trinity College in Dublin.

While the origin of the Book of Kells is not definitively known, the prevailing opinion is that monks created it around 800 on the island of Iona in western Scotland. Handwritten in Latin and widely celebrated for its artistry and decoration, it contains the four Gospels with canon tables.

To make an appointment to view the book in the University Archives and Special Collections in Albert Emanuel Hall, contact University Archivist Jennifer Brancato at 397-229-4267 or

More information:

“Book of Kells.” Memory of the World, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization,

“The Book of Kells.” The Library of Trinity College Dublin, Trinity College Dublin,

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