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Ireland

Pangur Bán, my cat


The Long Room

While in Dublin recently I visited Trinity College's library (the Long Room) and saw again the Book of Kells. This manuscript rightly is a major tourist attraction. I am fascinated by both its timeless beauty and its role as an example of the effort by Irish monks in keeping classical culture alive in the face of barbarian depredations.

What we forget sometimes is that the faceless scribes were real people, subject to boredom and flights of whimsy. A library brochure called my attention to a poem written by a monk on a manuscript that for me at least cracked open a window on his life and work.

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