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The Irish Charters in the Book of Kells (Author: [unknown])


The Irish Charters in the Book of Kells

The following Irish deeds are printed from the splendid MS. of the Gospels called the Book of Kells, preserved in the Library of Trinity College, Dublin, which, there is every reason to believe, was executed in the time of St. Columbkille. It would be out of place here to attempt a description of this MS., or to put together the evidences of its antiquity. It must suffice to observe, that the existence of the following charters, which have been copied into it, is sufficient to connect it with the monastery of Kells; and that it was in existence there in the year 1006, and then regarded as one of the most splendid relics of the western world, will appear from the following entry in the Annals of Ulster, under that year:

Anno Domini M[ordm ].ui[ordm ] (alias 1007) Soiscelae Mor Coluim Cille do dubgait is ind aidhci as ind iardom iartharach in daim liac moir Cenannsa. Prim mind iarthair domain ar ai in comdaigh doendai. In soscela-sin do foghbail dia fichet adaig ar dib misaib iar ngait de a oir, & fot tairis.

Anno Domini 1006 (alias 1007) The great Gospel of Columb-kille was sacrilegiously stolen by night out of the western porticus of the great church of Kells. This was the chief relic of the western world on account of the singular cover. This Gospel was found in twenty nights and two months, with its gold stolen off, and a sod over it.1

John O'Donovan, 1846.