Inspirational Book of Kells Creative Competition launched

Posted on: 26 August 2019

Trinity College has announced the launch of the inspirational Book of Kells Creative Competition for 2019. The nationwide competition is calling on artists and writers of all ages this autumn to submit entries in art or writing inspired by the famed book.

The competition, now in its third year, has received imaginative artistic interpretations of the book in previous years from across Ireland, the UK, the US, Europe and Australia indicating the world-wide fascination with the world’s most famous medieval manuscript.

At the launch of this year’s competition, RTE news anchor and presenter Sharon Ní Bheoláin and Violet McGrath from Dublin, with her winning entry from 2018.

The monks who illustrated the Book of Kells were Ireland’s earliest painters. Their intricate spirals and interlaces depicting plants, animals and people haveinspired generations. The challenge is to look at this work of genius in a fresh, modern way and showcase how the enduring legacy of this manuscript continues to shape and influence our lives today. The animal images of the snakes, peacocks, lions, hares ? could be the spark of your creativity.

The Book of Kells is also a story of endurance, having survived Viking raids and treacherous journeys, it remains with us 1200 years later. Trinity wants to celebrate pride in this national treasure. The creative muse is calling on Ireland’s budding writers and artists to get on board.  Joyce called the Book of Kells “the most purely Irish thing we have” claiming that much of his work could be compared to the intricate illuminations.  Many others have been similarly inspired by the manuscript.

This year, contestants are invited to share art and writing that evokes the theme ofmodern and innovative interpretations of Irish culture and the Book of Kells’. There are entry categories for adults and school-aged children (at both primary and second level) with winners receiving an individual cash prize, as well as a cash prize for their arts club or school. Winners will be honoured at the annual Book of Kells Creative Competition awards ceremony held in Trinity College and will also receive an exclusive visit to the Book of Kells.

Violet McGrath from Dublin with her winning entry from last year’s competition which re-imagined one of the many cats from the Book of Kells.

This year’s judging panel includes notable bookworms RTÉ News anchor and presenter Sharon Ní Bheoláin and RTÉ Radio presenter and founder of Ireland’s largest book club, Rick O’Shea. They will be joined by Head of the Department of Art History and Architecture at Trinity College, Dr Rachel Moss and Commercial Marketing Director at Trinity College, Breffni Jones.

Speaking at the launch, Sharon Ní Bheoláin said:

It is an honour to be a part of this unique competition for the second year running. 2018 saw individuals from all walks of life and all corners of the globe share their artistic rendering of this most celebrated manuscript. I was truly bowled over by the vision, imagination, application and enthusiasm on display and look forward to seeing exciting and innovative interpretations of this year’s theme”.

Radio personality Rick O’Shea added,

“The Book of Kells holds a special place in Ireland’s collective imagination, and rightly so. This year we are looking for people to use their creativity to celebrate the magic and enduring charm of Ireland’s most famous book”.

Last year’s winning entries included a stunning reimagining of one of the many cats depicted in the manuscript, created by Violet McGrath from St. Colmcilles Girls National School in Swords, Co. Dublin.

For more information and to enter please visit:

The closing date for the competition is 30th October 2019.








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