Kells Co. Meath is a small market town
fifty kilometers northwest of Dublin. It's situated on a ridge,
which rises about 100 meters above sea level. The river
Blackwater is to the north-east, and drains into the river Boyne.
From its earliest mention in the Annals of the Four Masters when a dun settlement was first built here in 1207 BC, Kells has had a long and checkered history.
It came into prominence in the early 6th century with the building of the Columban monastery, which flourished until the 12th century, withstanding various sackings and burning from local and Norse raiding parties. During this period, amongst other relics, the Great Book of Kells was completed, which is on display in Trinity College, Dublin. A copy is on view in the New Heritage Centre, Headford Place.
After the coming of the Anglo-Normans in the 12th century the monastery ceased. A castle was built and over the centuries Kells became a walled town. It was attacked and burned on numerous occasions, either by the natives or English until it was completely ruined in the 17th century.
Since that period the town has grown in size and statue to the thriving market town it is today. No trace of the castle can be found, and of the walls of the town only a small portion remains at the back of Cannon Street, along with a mural tower.
What has survived is the buildings from the earlier monastic city - the 100ft Round Tower, Columba`s Stone House and the Sculptured Crosses from the 9th/10th century.
The present day Kells is a bustling modern town, richly endowed with good eating houses, quality accommodation, and wide variety in its shops and boasts over 18 public houses of good quality and quantity of alcohol beverages. Its sporting activities include golfing, fishing, tennis, horseriding, swimming etc. Cultural activities include drama and a wide variety of arts, the highlight being the Heritage Festival which this year takes place from the 30th June-8th July 2001, a week of merriment and good entertainment