The Book of Kildare

At St. Brigid's Church in Kildare was a Book so beautifully illuminated that it is believed to rival that of the Book of Kells - indeed some believe that the Book of Kells may in fact be this book referred to by the welsh monk, Gerald of Wales.

JKAS VOL II 1896/98


GIRADUS CAMBRENIS: Eye witness account

'... among all the miraculous things at Kildare, nothing surprised me as much as that wonderful book, said to have been written from the dictation of an angel. The book contains the four gospels according to St. Jerames's version, it is adorned with almost as many illuminated figures as it has pages. Here you see the Majesty of the Dinne countenance, there the mystic figures of the Evangelists, together with other designs without number, which if carelessly surveyed; seem rather blots than intertuined ornaments, and appeared to be plain work where there was, in truth, nothing but intricacy. But on close examination the secrets of art were evident; and so delicate to subtle, so laboured and minute, so intertwined and knotted, so intricately and brilliantly coloured did you perceive them, that you were ready to say they were the work of an angel, and not of a man. the more intently I examined them , the more was I filled with fresh wonder and amazement. Neither could Apelles do the like. Indeed, mortal hand seemed incapable of forming or painting them.'

'the first night preceding the morning on which the writer was to commence the book an angel stood by him in his sleep, showing him a picture painted on a tablet, which he held on his hand, and said: 'Think you that you can depict this representation on he first page of the book which you are about to write?' The scribe distrusting his skill to complete a work so artistic and unusual, answered that he could not. The angel then said: 'on tomorrow morning ask your mistress to offer prayers to the lord for you, that he may assist you both in mind and body, so that you maybe able to see and apprehend the task proposed to you, and be able to execute it. after this the angel again appeared to him on the next night, showing the same picture and also many others, all of which the scribe, apprehending through the aid of Divine Grace, fixed faithfully in his memory and carefully reproduced in their proper places throughout he volume. In this way was the book written, the angel showing the pattern, St. Brigid praying and the scribe copying.'

Historians believe that this now last book would have reached the glorious standards of the famous Book of Kells.

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