Two new stamps featuring illustrations from the Book of Kells

An Post has issued Two new stamps featuring illustrations from the Book of Kells.

The brightly coloured stamps show the profile of the lion, a reoccurring image in the manuscript, symbolising Christ and the resurrection.

Monks of St. Columba’s order of Iona, Scotland are thought to have produced the Book of Kells, which was brought to the Abbey of Kells in County Meath in 806 AD following Viking raids on Iona.  It was moved to Dublin after Cromwell invaded Ireland in 1649 and placed under the care of Bishop Henry Jones, an alumnus of Trinity College.


The bishop donated it to Trinity in 1661, where it has remained ever since.  It has been on display in the Old Library at Trinity College Dublin since the mid-19th century and now attracts in excess of 500,000 visitors a year.

Designed by Dublin design studio Red&Grey, the two stamps (one national and one international) are based on imagery celebrating the passion, crucifixion and resurrection of Christ.  For the monks, the Book’s decoration was a prompt for reflection on the life and teachings of Jesus Christ.  The stamps and a special First Day Cover envelope are available at and at selected post offices.

Unveiling the stamps at Trinity College Dublin, Jack Chambers, Minister of State at the Department of Environment, Climate and Communications said: “The stamps feature some of our most recognisable and iconic heritage images. As we approach St Patrick’s day, that global celebration of Irish culture, these stamps will carry these beautiful details from the Book of Kells to every corner of the globe.”

Helen Shenton, Librarian & College Archivist at the Library of Trinity College Dublin said: “We are delighted these exquisite images from the Book of Kells will feature in An Post’s Stamp for Ireland series marking St Patrick’s Day. The Book of Kells is an iconic symbol of Irish identity worldwide and it is very fitting that such beautifully illustrated stamps communicate with those living in Ireland and abroad.”

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