Scribes, Scholars and Saints: Book of Kells (Part 1)

Scribes, Scholars and Saints: Book of Kells (Part 1)

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Armagh, Derry, Trinity College Dublin, University College Dublin




Transmission 16/08/1987


26min 02sec







Digitised as part of the UTV Archive Partnership Project (ITV, Northern Ireland Screen and PRONI)


Department for Communities, ITV, Public Record Office of Northern Ireland

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Dr. George Simms presents this programme on the "Ten Irish Treasures" focusing on biblical manuscripts with special attention drawn to the Book of Kells.  

Footage of Irish landscapes and religious artefacts are intertwined with Simms commentary as he delves into the history of these famous books. In-depth descriptions of how the scribes worked is present throughout, with even an explanation and a demonstration on how calfskin was turned into Vellum, the material on which the scribes wrote on, shown. 

Anecdotes are recalled to further enrich the stories such as how Columba, a Christian Monk, borrowed a book from the Monastery of Finnian and copied the whole thing, only to be caught just as he finished - the first recorded breech of copyright! What is discovered early on is that the illustrations found within these manuscripts serve to further illuminate the passages. 



A UTV Production.


Written and presented by Dr. George Simms

Executive Producer: Andrew Crockart

Produced and Directed: Donald Taylor Black

Ulster Television would like to thank: The Board of Trinity College Dublin, National Museum of Ireland, Commissioners of Public Works in Ireland, Commissioners of Irish Lights, Timothy O’Neill, Roscrea Heritage Centre, Fine Art Facsimile Publishers of Switzerland, John Kennedy (The Green Studio, Dublin), University College Dublin, Joe McDonagh, The Off-Line Suite, Dublin. 



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