It dates from the 8th century approximately as does the Ardagh Chalice. These pieces were made under the new Christian influences. The monasteries at this time became greatcentres of cultural activity and wereresponsible for many of the treasures wenow regard as important pieces, the Book of Kells, Ardagh Chalice and so on.
Parts of pages from the book
In the library of Trinity College Dublin, are kept some of the best preserved manuscripts of the 8th and 9th centuries. These were copies of the Gospel spainstakingly written and illustrated by teams of monks. The Book of Kells is undoubtedly the most famous. It was started on the Isle of Iona but completed in Kells from where it got its name. All but two of its pages are coloured. There are decorated letters and illustrations for the gospels. It along with other books such as the Book of Durrow can be seen by the public in Trinity.
One page of the Book of Kells is turned over every day.
The Book of Durrow was written in about AD 675. It is one of the earliest manuscripts to have a carpet page, that is a page completely covered in pattern and colour. It disappeared from the Abbey in the 16th century but luckily was found again and had survived belonging to a farmer who used to pour water on it to cure his cattle!
Monks carved and decorated stone crosses at many monastic sites. Earliest examples were just stone slabs and later the stones have arms with a circle surrounding the arms
The early Celtic Christian church developed a highly intricate art form known as the “High Cross,” which is still a popular motif in religious and funerary art and architecture. Some scholars hypothesise that it is a synthesis of the Christian cross with the earlier pagan solar symbol, the (sometimes quartered) circle.
At its highest point of development, the High Cross was virtually a sermon in stone, covered in carvings of enactments of biblical stories and symbols of Christendom. It seemed to have developed, however, from seventh-century stone slabs with intricate interwoven lacing, but without circles or biblical scenes. The circle was incorporated by the eighth century, and scenes from the Old Testament started slowly creeping onto crosses in the ninth century. By the 11th century, figures stood out of the cross in high relief on one or both of the cross faces.
Clonfert, Co. Offaly