Book of Kells Creative Competition winners announced

Posted on: 28 November 2019

Ysandre Naud, Shauna Murphy and Aaran Deere at the awards ceremony at Trinity College.

Trinity College has announced the winners of the Book of Kells Creative Competition at its annual awards ceremony.  The competition calls on artists and writers of all ages to submit art or writing inspired by the world’s most famous medieval manuscript.


Over 100 delegates gathered in Trinity’s prestigious dining hall for the ceremony, which included a presentation of awards to 38 artists and writers. Artists and writers of all ages from Ireland, the UK and the US were honoured at the ceremony.


Over 1,600 art and writing submissions influenced by the famed book were received from home and abroad this year, with Kate Rogers, winner of the adult writing award hailing from Hong Kong. Now in its third consecutive year, the competition invited entrants to submit art and writing which evoked modern and innovative interpretations of Irish culture in the Book of Kells.

Zywia Wilkowska from Ballinlough National School, Meath who was awarded a merit in the primary school ‘art category’.


Speaking at the event, Geraldine Ruane, Chief Operating Officer, Trinity College said:


“This competition has been hugely successful in inspiring the nation to reimagine one of Ireland’s oldest historical treasures through creative and innovative designs. It fills me with immense pride to bear witness to the myriad talents of our entrants, and to celebrate the special place that both the Book of Kells and Trinity College Dublin hold in people’s hearts”. 


The first prizes in art went to:

  • Isobel Webb, Scoil Padraig, Rathoe, Carlow; primary school category.
  • Orla Gaffney, St. Angela’s, Cork; secondary school category.
  • Garrett Lynam, from Meath; adult category.


The first prizes in writing went to:

  • Conor Savage, St. Josephs Boys National School, Dublin; primary school category.
  • Cormac Delaney, Holy Rosary College, Galway; secondary school category.
  • Kate Rogers, Hong Kong, China; adult category


St. Joseph’s Boys National School, Terenure, Dublin, celebrated a double win in the primary school writing category, with 5th class student Harry Moylan winning a merit for his entry, “A Tale of Two Brothers”, and 6th class student Conor Savage taking 1st prize for his entry, “The Reset”.

Harry Moylan, Jake Murphy-Best, Rhys Sutton from St. Joseph’s Boys National School Dublin at the annual awards ceremony in Trinity College.

Speaking at the awards ceremony, Claire Savage, mother of award winner Conor Savage, said:

Conor started writing last year, inspired by his teachers and favourite authors. Winning 2nd prize in last year’s competition gave Conor the confidence that he could take the theme of the Book of Kells and create a modern story in a future where the Book of Kells still holds mystery and importance in a whole new Irish culture.


Commenting on the competition, teacher Anthony O’Flynn from St. Joseph’s National School Dublin said:

“The Book of Kells Creative Competition is the most worthwhile educational venture we have ever undertaken. With superb structure and organisation, it incentivises all children and provides a positive goal for reading and creative writing. A competition not to be missed!”

Winner Claire Horgan from Cork who was awarded 2nd prize in the Adult Art category (Claire also won the 1st prize in the same category two years ago) described her participation in this year’s competition. She said:

“The Book of Kells creative competition is a wonderful way to celebrate Irish culture and creativity and I’m so honoured to be part of it.”

Winner Claire Horgan from Cork with her winning entry.


Congratulating the winners on their great achievement, RTÉ news anchor and presenter Sharon Ni Bheolain, ambassador of the competition, said:

“It was a pure delight to be an ambassador for this year’s Book of Kells Creative Competition, I was bowled over by the standard of entries. People from every walk of life put their heart and soul into interpreting and visualising our most celebrated of manuscripts. Animals, birds and gospel scenes have all been gloriously re-imagined by our finalists and the colours and artistry leap off the page.

The Book of Kells is a national treasure and it is so gratifying that Irish people retain such pride in its enduring charm.”  


RTÉ Broadcaster Rick O’Shea, who judged the writing section of the competition, added:

“Not that I thought the judging process would be anything but hard, but the quality of what we ended up seeing was very impressive. It took time and thought but I think people will be impressed with the quality of our winners.”


The competition is now open for 2020 with the theme being ‘Colours in The Book of Kells’. The closing date is October 30 2020. Further information will be available in the coming weeks at or via email: