Book of Kells copy stolen from church

A replica of the Book of Kells has been stolen in Meath, almost as mentalist Keith Barry predicted.

The magician last week posted a list of premonitions on his Facebook page, including a major oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the fall of the Government over water charges, and a Queens Park Rangers win over Manchester City.

While his sporting tips left much to be desired as relegation-threatened QPR drew 2-2 with Man City, he was closer to the mark with his prediction of the Book of Kells getting pinched.

As it turned out, a valuable replica was stolen from a glass cabinet in St Columcille’s Church in Kells some time between November 1 and 8. The glass cabinet was reportedly untouched.

The replica, with an estimated value of €1,500, was one of three highly decorated facsimile copies of the 680-page Book of Kells available to the public in Ireland. The two other copies are also in Kells, in St Columba’s Church and the Town Hall.

The theft was reported to gardaí on Sunday with a number of Facebook users jokingly suggesting to the Meath Crime Prevention page the gardaí should “ask Keith Barry” about it.

Lucy Reilly, chair of Kells and District Tourism Forum, yesterday appealed on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland for the return of the book.

She admitted the theft could be a prank on the back of Barry’s prediction but if it was, she said, “it’s not very funny”.

“My advice would be to bring it back and nothing more would be said about it.”

The original Book of Kells, created around 800AD, was housed in the town for centuries but was transferred to Trinity College Dublin in the 1800s.

The priceless manuscript, bound into four volumes, attracts over 500,000 visitors to Trinity each year.

Anyone with information about the reported theft is asked to contact Kells Garda Station on 046 9240999 or the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111.

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