A campaign has got under way in Kells to secure the return of one of the four volumes of the famous Book of Kells.

Campaigners say that the Co Meath town is the rightful home for at least some of the book.

However, Trinity College in Dublin where it is currently housed has already rejected the town's request.

Written by monks around 800 AD, the book disappeared when Oliver Cromwell's army arrived in Kells in 1654. It was given to Trinity six years later and has been there since.

Now for the sake of tourism and the community, the people of the town want some of the book back and have signed a petition.

The Book of Kells is a huge attraction and money earner for Trinity College where it is preserved and displayed.

Trinity said: "The preservation, safety and security of the manuscript are paramount in relation to requests for loan received by Trinity College.

"Over the years, it has received requests from highly reputable cultural institutions both nationally and internationally for its loan.

"Since the year 2000, it has been the policy of the Board of Trinity College on the grounds of security, environmental and preservation concerns to decline such requests.

"The College regrets the disappointment that this decision may cause, however the preservation of this unique and fragile manuscript must, however, take priority over all other considerations."

Campaigners say that Trinity does not own the Book of Kells and that it belongs to the people of Ireland.

They acknowledge a new centre would have to be built to house one of the volumes, but they believe the money would be forthcoming from the Government.