Welcome to Kells! My guess is that the most well-known item from Kells is the Book of Kells, an illuminated scripture (the four Gospels), but that's held in Trinity College in Dublin (though presently it's in Australia on tour).
The biggest attraction of Kells is probably the Round Tower that sits almost in the very middle of town. The tower was used by monks during an invasion. The monks could climb up a robe ladder on the inside to the top where they and any valuables would be safe. Well, I suppose it works in theory... Actually, it did the job until the Viking invaders decided to set fires at the base of the towers and smoke the monks out.
Pictured below is a plaque that is on a wall in the graveyard. It reads as follows:
"When in 807 AD the Columban monks abandoned Iona in western Scotland
in the face of Viking attacks, the abbot of Iona transferred the headquarters
of the Columban monastic network to Kells, where they founded the 'city'.
The celebrated Book of Kells, an illuminated copy of the gospels, was made
about the time the Iona community came to Ireland. In 1007 the Book
of Kells was stolen from the church at Kells, but was found two months
later -- covered by a sod and lacking the richly decorated cover.
'The original church at Kells does not survive. Outside the churchyard is St. Columba's House, a small stone-roofed church. The Round Tower was mentioned in 1076 when Murchadh, who had been king of Tara, was murdered inside it; the doorway has a head carved on one of the jambs."
To the left of the cross on the plaque (which is also the one pictured above), this is written:
"There were at least five High Crosses in Kells. The oldest stands beside the Round Tower; it has an inscription PATRICH ET COLUMBE CR(UX) (The Cross of Patrick and Columba) and was probably erected soon after the monastery was founded. Also in the churchyard is the shaft of another tall cross, an unfinished cross, and a cross base. Outside the graveyard is the Market Cross, said to have been re-erected by Dean Swift after it had been broken for many years. It was used as a gallows after the unsuccessful 1798 rebellion."
The church at Kells
This gift shop is right across the street from the Round Tower and church.
Ballinlough Castle Bective Abbey Clonmellon Cemetery Drewstown House Dublin Grove Gardens p.1 p.2 Irish National Stud Kells p.1 p.2 p.3 Kilkenny Killua Castle Russborough House Trim Castle