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New Book of Kells set-up allows display of some pages for first time in decades

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The Book of Kells is finally getting a setting worthy of its status as a world-renowned cultural artefact and Ireland’s best known treasure.

For decades the book, visited by some 500,000 people a year, was on display in a glass case in the old library at Trinity College Dublin. However, neither the light nor the location were regarded as optimal for a ninth century manuscript.

From today the book is being displayed in a bespoke glass case in the college’s treasury room which will be in darkness but for a spotlight on the book.

The case will allow for every page to be displayed on a rotating basis. This will include some of its most ornate pages which have not been on public display for many decades because of their sensitivity to light.

The case has been designed by Goppion, which has done similar work relating to the display of the Mona Lisa, Britain’s crown jewels and the Dead Sea Scrolls.

“It is not only very aesthetic, the technical specifications are second to none in terms of the environmental control and security,” said TCD librarian and archivist Helen Shenton. “It is a wonderful combination of high tech and this exquisite book.”

The display case and refurbishment of the treasury room has been funded by Fáilte Ireland and philanthropist Carol Grigor and her husband filmmaker husband Murray Grigor.

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