Kells Town Hall was originally designed as a bank in 1853 by William Caldebeck and became a town hall in 1974. From 1852 Caldbeck was appointed architect to the National Bank.
The tourist information office is open here from Mondays to Fridays from 9:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. (closed for lunch from 1:00 p.m.- 2:00 p.m.)
Currently here you can view a facsimile copy of both the Book of Kells and the Kells’ Crosier (c. 9th-11th century).
Kells Crosier (now in the British Museum)
This fine crozier was found without explanation in a solicitor’s office in 1850, and was owned by Cardinal Wiseman before purchase by The British Museum in 1859. Originally it would have been venerated as a relic of a saint in the early church in Ireland, and also been a symbol of office for a leading cleric, possibly a bishop or abbot.
The appearance of the crozier today is the result of at least two periods of ornamentation as well as early attempts to dismantle or destroy it. The core is a staff of yew wood, now cut in two. This was first encased in bronze in the late ninth or tenth century when the staff was decorated with cast knobs (or ‘knops’) and cross-shaped strips. Raised borders divide the knops into panels filled with animal interlace, once covered with bright silver foil. The original bronze casing to the curved crook had a diamond pattern grid and animal ornament.
In the eleventh century the crook was given an outer casing of silver sheet and a new crest in gilded openwork of linked birds. A new knop decorated with black niello and silver inlay in the Scandinavian Ringerike style replaced an earlier one at the top of the shaft. The straight end of the crook is a feature of early Irish croziers, and like many others it was altered to form a hollow box with a human head above, to hold a holy relic. On the underside of the crook a silver strip engraved in Irish asks for a prayer for Cúduilig and Maelfinnén who were involved in the refurbishment.