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Life in a Monastery

Digital book of Kells

Dee Mc

on 4 June 2014

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Transcript of Life in a Monastery

Life in a

So who are monks and
what happened
in a monastery then?...
They live in small settlements
called monasteries.
Monasteries were built in
remote places
so that monks could lead
a religious lifestyle,
removed from secular life.
The Skellig Islands,
Co. Kerry
Monasteries began to appear in Ireland
in the 6th Century.
He founded
many monasteries in Ireland...
... including:

Kells, Durrow, Moone, Raphoe, Swords,
and Derry
...and also on Iona (off the west coast of Scotland): where the Book of Kells was created Many years after Columba’s death.
Places of learning…

Irish monasteries were important
because they were places
of learning
- like your school!
Irish monasteries became renowned
for being the best in the world at teaching the Gospel and the Arts, such as poetry and literature.
Students came from all over Europe to study in monasteries in Ireland.
...a saying still used today.
Ireland became
known as
the land of
Saints & Scholars...
What did
a monastery look like?

Also in the monastery
there would have been...

Saint Columba (Colm Cille) was a missionary monk who spread Christianity in Ireland and Scotland during the 6th Century.
At the time that the Book of Kells
was written, young men joined the monastery when they were 15 or 16 years old.
What did monks look like then?
What did they do there?
As well as worship and prayer, each monk had
a role within the monastery.
Some of the activities going on in the monastery were ...
Monks wore long tunics
and cloaks of varying colours
with leather belts and sandals.

Monks shaved
their heads in a tonsure.
Stone work

some monks carved intricate designs in stone, making impressive High Crosses…..

Monks spent a lot of time praying….

At the time of the Book of Kells,
they would have gathered 6 times
a day to pray.
As well as prayer, monks fasted
- not eating food for long periods while they prayed.
Monks also worshipped God in church,
reciting and singing the Psalms
Monasteries were places
of learning
and monks travelled
from great distances
to study the Gospel
and literature there
farming the land
looking after the animals
weaving cloth
Many monks were highly skilled in art and craft work including...
Creating manuscripts-

this involved:
making the very pages and ink with which they worked,
decorating and painting the manuscripts
Metal work-

monks made beautiful pieces of metal work, including Celtic jewellery and chalices used in the monastery
some were scribes, some were
metal workers, others were farmers…
Missionary work
Many monks also went outside
the monastery to spread Christianity.
These monks carried
pocket Gospel books in satchels when they went travelling to tell people about the word of God.
Monasteries were vulnerable because people knew they housed many valuable items that the monks made there like chalices, Celtic jewellery, manuscripts and paintings
Knowing people would want
to steal these things,
monks went on to build
high round towers to
help guard their riches safe
from violent raids.
Attacks on monasteries increased dramatically when the Vikings invaded, intent on stealing the treasures from prospering monasteries.
It was because of violent Vikings that the monks of Iona had to flee the island in 806 AD, both for their own safety and to protect the precious Book of Kells.
round tower
Buildings were made from stone or timber,
or wattle and daub which is interlacing rods, twigs or branches plastered with clay
...there were also workshops for:
making the many tools for the farm,
the production of the manuscripts
and just daily life.
…many monks spent
their whole lives
copying manuscripts...
cells or little huts in which the monks slept
The most important building in a monastery
was the church...
Monasteries were communities, like small villages, usually enclosed within stone walls.
(ii) to protect them from raiders…monasteries were places where valuable items could be found.

(i) so the monks could isolate themselves
Monasteries were surrounded by walls
special rooms where monks made illuminated manuscripts...
Book of Kells
was created in a monastery
by monks…
Monks are men who devote their lives to worshipping God.
The main meal of the day
was served around noon
and consisted of simple foods
like poached fish
or boiled oats
All photographs from the Book of Kells
© By kind permission of The Board of Trinity College Dublin
Full transcript