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Kells to celebrate St Columcille in 2014

By Ann Marie Foley - 05 January, 2014

book-of-kells2The town of Kells plans to celebrate St Columcille this year on the 1,200th anniversary of the re-establishment of the monastery which was the original home of the Book of Kells.

The year-long celebrations will culminate in a weekend of ecumenical services, lectures, readings, tours, workshops and music around the feast day of Columcille on 9 June 2014.

However, it is not yet known whether the famous book itself will make an appearance.

A spokesperson said that while it would be lovely to have some of the Book of Kells on display for the celebrations, “we completely understand Trinity’s concerns on moving such a national – and international – treasure.”

Kells housed the Book of Kells for more than 800 years before the manuscript was moved to Trinity College for safekeeping.

The famous book was almost returned in 2000 but conditions for its display were deemed inadequate.

St c house  kellsThen in 2011, a campaign to have at least one of the Gospels of the famous book returned was launched by locals including the Kells Tourism Forum, which is also involved in organising this year’s celebrations.

“Columcille, also known as Columba, was a Christian of noted significance in both Ireland and Europe,” according to Lucy O’Reilly, chair of Kells Tourism Forum.

“Columcille was foremost in the monastic tradition, the building of monasteries and the spread of learning.”

The Saint founded monasteries in many places in Ireland, including Kells and Derry as well as Iona in Scotland.

The noted English historian, St Bede has stated that that Columba/Columcille led many to Christianity by his “preaching and example.”

He was much admired for his physical as well as spiritual strength. He was unflagging in his missionary and pastoral journeys throughout his seventy-six years of life.

St Columcille untitledLocally a committee has been established to organise the celebrations. It includes members of the Church of Ireland; the Catholic Church; Kells and District Tourism Forum; Kells Town Council; Kells Archaeological and Historical Society; Denis McCarthy; Kells Silver Band; Kells Local Heroes; Kells Chamber of Commerce; and Craobh Cholmcille de Chonradh na Gaeilge.

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