A Swiss company is to reproduce a full colour limited edition of the Book of Kells.

Perhaps Ireland's most famous national treasure the Book of Kells was produced in the 8th century. For 300 years it has been housed in Trinity College Dublin. The four volumes of the manuscript are on display locked in a glass case in the library of the college. One page of the book is turned each week and it would take a visitor seven years to see the whole book.

Now it is planned to produce an exact copy allowing scholars to study their own Book of Kells. Copies have been made previously but not to the standard planned for this production. Peter Fox of Trinity College Library explains why a new facsimile is being made now. 

A Swiss company Faksimile Verlag have been commissioned by Trinity College to produce a full colour duplicate. The company have already spent £400,000 photographing the manuscript. Urs Duggelin of Faksimile Verlag explains the challenges and the methods used in the reproduction. 

The Book of Kells is very famous for its illustrations. These illustrations and decorations are in fantastic colours I have never seen in other manuscripts like the greens special greens and yellows and blues. There are colours we have never printed up to now.  

It is planned to have the new facsimile completed by 1990. 1500 copies will be produced at a cost of £7,000 each   

An RTÉ News Report broadcast 19 September 1986. The reporter is Kieron Wood.