Question : What do the Harry Potter series and Kells Academy have in common?

Answer : Trinity Library, Dublin, home of the world famous Book of Kells

Who knew that around the same time author J.K. Rowling was imagining the story of a young wizarding student named Harry Potter, Kells Academy founder and director Irene Woods was drawing inspiration from what would become one of the movie franchise’s most recognizable locations when naming her own school? It’s true!

Kells Academy takes its name from the Book of Kells, which is archived in the breathtakingly beautiful library of Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland. It’s little wonder that this architectural masterpiece was chosen by the Harry Potter movie location scouts as the setting for the student library at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Known as The Long Room within the Old Library, the 65-metre 300 year old wood panelled chamber houses over 200,000 of Trinity College’s oldest books, the Book of Kells among them. It is the longest single-chamber library in existence.

Arguably Ireland’s most celebrated book, and dating back to the 9th century, the Book of Kells is the World’s most famous illuminated manuscript. Written entirely in Latin, this medieval 160-page Gospel features stunningly elaborate illustrations. A new page is displayed by its caretakers at Trinity College every day, to the delight of visitors.

The Book of Kells is considered to be one of history’s most significant works, and representative of how Irish monks carefully transcribed ancient texts left behind by the Romans and being destroyed by Germanic invaders elsewhere, effectively preserving them for future generations. These included the works of Greek and Latin writers, both pagan and Christian, including the writings of Homer, Virgil, Demosthenes, Cicero. It is said that, in this way, the Irish ‘saved civilization’.

Kells Academy founder Irene Woods explains:

“I was born in Cork, Ireland, but worked at University College Dublin before coming to Montreal in 1970. I passed Trinity on my way to work each day without realising the significance the famous book would have in my future life. You may know that Kells started as the Westmount learning centre in 1978. As we transitioned to a day school students suggested we change the name to sound more like a regular school. I asked students and staff to come up with proposals. Kells Academy was proposed by the school secretary Barbara Clowes who was British and understood the significance of the name. To me, it’s significant that the book of Kells played a major part in saving civilization in Europe. I like to think it offered us inspiration in saving the education of many of our students as many have told us.”

We’re sure that Kells students familiar with this beloved book series will agree: just like Hogwarts, Kells Academy is a place where wonderous things happen. We may have chemistry labs instead of alchemy and potions classes, and our history classes may not include the History of Magic, but Kells instructors are as dedicated as Professors McGonagall, Lupin, Snape and Trelawney ever were. Just as at Hogwarts, Kells Academy tailors instruction to the needs and talents of the child, bringing out the best in each of its students. Muggles of all kinds are very welcome: Kells offers a caring, supportive environment, where students love to learn. Whether they graduate from Hogwarts or from Kells, students emerge with the skills and confidence to deal with life’s challenges.

Experience, Excellence. Extraordinary. Kells.