The Book of Kells is a spectacular group of manuscripts created in Ireland and northern Britain between the 7th and 10th centuries, a period when Irish monasticism was in the vanguard of Christian culture. Its earliest history remains controversial, but it was in the keeping of the monastery of Kells, Co. Meath, for most of the Middle Ages – hence its name – and has been in the library of Trinity College, Dublin, since the mid-17th century. It is a masterpiece of medieval art – a brilliantly decorated copy of the four gospels with full-page descriptions of Christ, the Virgin and the Evangelists as well as a wealth of smaller decorative painting that does not always relate to the sacred text. The strange imagination displayed in the pages, the impeccable technique and the state of preservation make the book a fascinating source. This edition reproduces the most important of the fully decorates pages plus a series of enlargements, showing the almost unbelievable minuteness of the detail; spiral and interlaced patterns, human and animal ornament – a combination of high seriousness and humour. Accompanying the illustrations is a text by Bernard Meehan, the Keeper of Manuscripts at Trinity College, Dublin. The text provides an analysis of these inventions, the artists, the text and the writing, and an account of the historical background to the world of “The Book of Kells”.