St Matthew from the Book of Kells, c800. The Book of Kells is a manuscript of the Four Gospels originally thought to have been produced in Ireland in the 6th century at the time of St Columba, possibly at least in part by his own hand. Historians now believe it was made by Celtic monks on Iona around the late 8th-early 9th century. Its name is derived from the Abbey of Kells in County Meath, Ireland, where the book was taken, probably after a Viking raid, and where it was kept until 1541. As well as being an important religious text, the Book of Kells represents one of the finest known examples of Celtic art.
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