The new Book of Kells treasury and display case has been unveiled in the Old Library, following nearly a year of conservation work on the 9th century manuscript.
The world famous Gospel collection is now staged on a plinth in a free-standing tower, which will allow every single page of the manuscript to be displayed on a rotational basis. This will include some of its most ornate pages which have not been on public display for many decades.
World-renowned engineers Goppion who designed cases for the Mona Lisa, the Crown jewels and the Dead Sea Scrolls, designed the new display.
In a press statement, Minister for Media, Tourism, Arts, Culture, Sport and the Gaeltacht Catherine Martin said: “The opening of the new Book of Kells Treasury and display case is one of the most positive developments for the country’s culture, heritage and tourism sectors this year. It heralds a period of renewal and innovation for cultural organisations across Ireland.”
“Trinity has safeguarded this priceless manuscript with leading technology and preventive conservation, ensuring the optimum environmental conditions, security and visual display.”
“The conservation and preservation of our heritage for generations to come is of national importance. It ensures that this global icon will continue to be admired and studied by millions currently and into the future”, the Minister added.
The new display and refurbishment was financed by Fáilte Ireland and a gift from donors Carol and Murray Grigor.
Librarian and College Archivist, Helen Shenton said: “We are delighted to be opening the new Treasury to the public. This new display case reflects the importance and beauty of the world-famous Book of Kells with its magnificent artistry and ornamentation, a unique icon admired by millions.”
“It has been designed to protect the manuscript while providing an enhanced viewing experience for visitors. The Book of Kells has inspired generations of visitors, students and academics and will continue to do so for future generations as we preserve it with the highest conservation standards and the best technology.”
The Book of Kells brings in around €3 million per year in revenue for Trinity, while its prolonged closure in the earlier stages of the coronavirus pandemic is expected to have a significant financial impact on Trinity.
Last month, it was announced that visitors to the Book of Kells will be required to wear a face mask, and will be refused entry to the exhibition if they do not comply.
Face coverings are now mandatory in shops and indoor public places in Ireland, and failure to wear one can result in a fine of up to €2,500 or face six months’ imprisonment.
College, last month, said that international tourists visiting the Book of Kells will be told that they must self-isolate for two weeks before entering campus, but will not be required to prove that they have followed this guideline.