1. The Book of Kells, Trinity College Dublin
A lavish masterpiece with a particularly dramatic backstory, the Book of Kells is one of the most beautiful illustrated manuscripts of the Early Christian world. Originating in a monastery on the isle of Iona, off the west coast of Scotland, the book consists of the four Gospels in Latin, richly decorated with traditional Christian iconography, as well as intricate figures of humans, animals and mythical beasts. In 806AD, marauding Vikings raided the monastery in Iona, leaving 68 dead and forcing the monks to flee across the Irish Sea to a new monastery in Kells, County Meath, taking with their precious manuscript with them. It's generally believed that the book was completed here, once they settled into rural life in Ireland. Preserved over the centuries, the book is now on display in the stunning Long Room Library in Trinity College Dublin. Prepare to be awed by the incredible detail!