Only a few early manuscripts from ancient Ireland survive and they are among our most valued antiquaries. The Book of Kells dating from the eighth to ninth centuries is a Latin copy of the four gospels. The original Book of Kells is kept at Trinity College Dublin where a different page is displayed each day for the public. About ten per cent of the original is thought to have been lost over the centuries. Its association is with the monastery of Colm Cille at Kells, County Meath, founded in 807 A.D. following Viking raids on Iona. Indeed the Book may have been compiled on the island and brought to Ireland. It is considered the high point of Celtic monastic art.
The Book of Durrow [650 A.D.] is an even earlier illuminated manuscript of the Gospels and is associated with the Columban monastery of Durrow in County Offaly. Less ornate than the Book of Kells, it too is held by Trinity College Dublin.
The Book of Dun Cow [Leabhar na Huidhre] contains an early version of the Cattle Raid of Cooley and several other well-known stories. Lost for several centuries it turned up unexpectedly in a Dublin bookshop in 1837. It was bought in 1844 by the Royal Irish Academy.
The Book of Armagh 807-808 A.D. is also known as Liber Armachanus [and an Can
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