The Secret of Kells (2009) Script

AISLING: I have lived through many ages.

Through the eyes of salmon, deer and wolf.

I have seen the Northmen invading Ireland, destroying all in search of gold.

I have seen suffering in the darkness.

Yet, I have seen beauty thrive in the most fragile of places.

I have seen the book.

The book that turned darkness into light

LEONARDO: Brendan, don't let her get away.

Come on.

Nice goosy, goosy, goosy… Hmm.

Stand back, I will get her.

Which way?

Brendan, that scaffolding is not steady!



TANG: Brendan.


Brendan. Brendan.

Are you hurt?



Keep it quiet, Brendan, or the abbot will hear.

I'm sorry, but we have to do this.

It will all be over in a minute.

One, two, three, four, five.

Now, that wasn't so hard, was it?

Lucky bird.

Your feathers will become the tools from which we create immortal pages of sacred text.

Abbot, I explain for you.

We tried to catch goose and she run very fast and I fall in the mud.

Forgive us, Abbot.

Uh… CELLACH: Brendan, where are those plans I asked for?

The plans?

I left them in the scriptorium.

Bring them to the tower.

Yes, Uncle.

Tomorrow, you will go back to work on the wall.

Dawn till evening bell.

Brother Leonardo, clean yourself up for pity's sake.

LEONARDO: I don't know why there are artists in Kells when all that man wants us to do is to build this crazy wall.

ASSOUA: Yes, that is all the man cares about, nothing else, and you continue to defend him, Brendan.

Uncle just wants to protect us from the outside.

When the Northmen come to Kells, they'll make no distinction between young and old. So…

“Prepare or meet your doom!”

You just don't understand.

But, Brendan, you've never been outside these walls.

I don't have to go outside to know how dangerous it is.

Where have you all been?

We went to get these, for you.

You should have seen him, Brother Sergei.

He took a flying dive, like a beautiful swan.

It is not funny.

The Abbot sees us.

He is not happy because we are not working on the wall.

Now enough of that! What about the books? Does he not find them?

If there were no books, all knowledge would be lost for eternity.

Uh… ASSOUA: We cannot only build walls.

The people must have books, so that they may have hope.

If we had a true master illuminator, we would do such splendid work.

Let us pray that one will be delivered to us one day.

Let us pray!

Surely you don't need a master.

Your work is the finest I've seen. Thank you, Brendan.

But we are mere scribblers next to true masters.

True masters? Such as… Such as Brother Aidan of Iona.

Aidan the Wise. Aidan is indeed the great one.

Who is the Brother Aidan?

A sage.

The wisest one of them all.

The perfect illuminator.

Well, where is he then?

He lives on a tiny island called Iona.

There is an abbey on the island where he works on a magnificent book.

The Book of Iona.

SQUARE: The book was begun 200 years ago, under the orders of none other than Saint Columbkille himself.

ASSOUA: The Book of Iona outshines all others because of the miracle of Columbkille's third eye.

LEONARDO: No, not because of his third eye, because of his three hands with 12 fingers on each.

ASSOUA: That's not true! He had a third eye, not a third hand.

Have you not heard about the Eye of Columbkille?

LEONARDO: Of course!

But that was for making the prophecies.

His third hand was for beginning the book.

SQUARE: Enough! Just tell the boy about Brother Aidan.

LEONARDO: His writings are said to glow from the pages, as though they are light ASSOUA: Sinners have been blinded while glancing upon the pages.

For to gaze upon the book is to gaze upon heaven itself!

BRENDAN: The Book of Iona.

But where is Iona?

SERGEI: It is far, far away in the sea.

Like all islands should be.

A beautiful place where the illuminators do not have to build walls.

BRENDAN: But the Abbot says that islands are too easy to attack.

ASSOUA: Brendan, are you still here?

You'd better bring the Abbot those plans, or you'll be in big trouble!

Uncle! Hurry, boy!

Here they are, Uncle.

Brendan, how am I to trust you with responsibility when you continue to disappoint me?

One day, you will take control of this abbey.

Yet it takes you several hours to fulfill a simple task.

I'm sorry. The monks were talking of Iona.

I dreamt it was destroyed.

It was so real, Uncle!

It is real, Brendan.

One day that horror will come to us.

That is exactly why we must prepare ourselves.

This section of the wall is supported by three pillars.

Here, here and here.

Uncle, someone has arrived!

He has a white cat!

Another victim of the Northmen, no doubt.

Now, let's see.

MAN: Oh, no, no not that far.

But we've the legs walked off ourselves all the same.

But, please, from where? A very long way?

Oh, yes, 'twas long enough all right.

Ah, but when you have this little one to keep up with, well, it doesn't take half the time.

Isn't that right, Pangur Ban?

SERGEI: Will you be staying long? CELLACH: Welcome to Kells, Brother. Hmm?

Abbot Cellach.

Peace be with you!

Brothers, welcome to Kells one of the great illuminators of our times.

Must be a stone mason.

CELLACH: Brother Aidan of Iona.

Now, one question at a time.

As Columbkille used to say, “Questions do not burn your tongue

“if you wait to ask them.” Welcome to Kells, Brother Aidan!

It is this way. Come on, everyone.

Hello, welcome to Kells.

Hey, wait!

LEONARDO: We were only just talking of you and of the book.

SERGEI: I think we are tempting fate, this is true.

Oh! Fine size of a place, isn't it?

Mmm. Good clean air, fine light coming from those windows.

BRENDAN: Brother! Very good indeed. Yes.

Is that where you keep the book? Hmm?

Uh, is that where you keep the… And who might you be?

A very short Brother I see.

The person who is short of stature is never as short of questions.

And of what interest is the book to you?

Uh, well, the Brothers were talking and they said that Saint Columbkille himself began it.

Brothers, now that you've greeted Brother Aidan, I must take him to see the important work we're doing to fortify Kells.

You all have work to do.

The plans are in my work room.

Ah, but you see, I was thinking I could stay here… Right this way, Brother.

Lad! Hmm?

Find some food for, uh… CELLACH: You see, I am determined to complete the fortifications within two years.

So, you're Pangur Ban.

Well, I'm… Hey, wait. I'm supposed to feed you.


Pangur Ban!

Pangur Ban!

CELLACH: You should not have come here.

The Northmen will have followed you… AIDAN: Was I to stay and be killed?

I escaped the Vikings and left them far behind, Brother Cellach.

Sorry, I mean, Abbot Cellach.

The book is saved and I mean to complete it.


Well, we have more pressing things to complete here.

You mean your wall?

Not my wall, Aidan.

A wall to save civilization.

A wall to save your book!

Pagans, Crom worshippers.

It is with the strength of our walls that they will come to trust the strength of our faith.

You were always good at the old drawing, Cellach.


Well, if you'll excuse me, I have a lot to attend to.

No wall can stop the Northmen, Abbot.

When they come, all we can do is run and hope that we are fast enough.

Come on, Pangur.


I don't mean the book any harm.

All I've ever seen is inside the walls of Kells.

If I could just see one page… Please.

Oh. Mmm.

AIDAN: Well!

If it isn't the little Brother with the big questions.

I didn't mean to… I understand.

You got bored eavesdropping on the Abbot's private conversation and decided to rummage through my things.

Oh, no, that's not it!

Calm down, lad, calm down. I won't tell on you.

Maybe I… The Brothers said that the sinners are blinded if they glance at the book.

So maybe I shouldn't.

Is that what you really believe will happen?

There's nothing in this life but mist, is there, lad?

It's your decision, no one else's.

The cover is not the real treasure.

Open it!

BRENDAN: The work of angels.

“The work of the angels.” Hear that, Pangur?

I didn't know they made angels as funny looking as me.

Maybe the boy has gone blind.

I thought the very same when I first saw it.

But it is only the work of mere mortals, I'm afraid, like me or you.

The book is a beacon in these dark days of the Northmen.

Do you want to see the most beautiful page?

The one that will turn darkness into light?

It is to be the Chi-Rho page.

But it hasn't been made yet.

No, but it will become the most glorious page of the entire book.

Tell me, Brendan, would you like to help me?

Oh, yes, please! I help the Brothers find quills all the time.

Calm down, calm down, little Brother.

Now, to start with, you can help me gather some of these, from an old oak tree.

What is it? It's a humble little berry, but it makes the deepest emerald green ink you will ever see.

If you help me get a dozen or so from the forest, I'll show you how to make it. So, come on!

What's keeping you?

I can't go. I'm not allowed outside the walls.

It's too dangerous.

It is dangerous.

On Iona, I lost my brothers to attackers from the outside.

Now, I have only the book to remember them by.

But if my brothers were here now, they would tell you that you will learn more in the woods from trees and rocks than in any other place.

You will see miracles.

And that is something the Abbot knew a long time ago.

I've never seen anything like it, Pangur.

I really want to help Brother Aidan.

I think I could get those ink berries all by myself.

I could go into the forest Wouldn't Brother Aidan be surprised?

Oh. But the Abbot… I'd be back before he'd even miss me.

But what if I get lost in the dark?


I should never go out there!


If I keep thinking of the book, I won't be afraid of the dark.

And I'm sure I won't have to go that far.

Right, so, Pangur Ban, tomorrow I'll go into the forest!



Of course, it might help if I knew what an oak tree looked like.

Maybe we'd better go home.

Was it this way? Do you remember?

Don't panic, Pangur. We just have to find the way back before dark.


Oh, no, it's hard enough.

Is this your cat?


BRENDAN: I've heard about creatures like you.

You're a fairy!

What are you doing in my forest?

You've come to spoil it, haven't you?

You were probably sent here by your family to get food, weren't you?

Well, you can go right back where you came from.

If you don't, I'll make the wolves get you!


Uh… I didn't mean to.

Look, I'm sorry, all right?

I'm not here to get food for my family.

I'm here to get things to make ink.

I don't have a family, and we have food in Kells.

So I wouldn't come here for it anyway. I was just a bit lost.

You have no family?

Uh, no.

No mother?

I'm alone, too.


If this is your forest, you must know everything about it.

Of course. No. Wait!


Shh, not so loud! Go away!

No, wait, please! Do you know where I can find these?


But you can't eat those.

I don't want to eat them. They're for ink.

What is ink?

It's for the book.

For making pictures.

Liquid color, you put it on pages.

Well, like leaves, it's hard to explain, I suppose you'd have to see it.

I don't know what you're talking about, and I don't want to know.

BRENDAN: But, Brother Aidan… I will help you find the things you want, on one condition.

You and your pet must promise to never come into my forest again.

Uh… All right, then. We promise.

Come on then, I'll ask the forest where they are.

Ask the… What?

Hey, wait!

My name's Brendan. What's yours?

It's a miracle, just like Aidan said.

Aidan is my friend.

I'm helping him make the most incredible book in the whole world.

He says it will turn darkness into light. Wait until you see it!

Wait until you see the rest of my forest.

You're fast.

Yes, I'm the fastest.

So, where are the berries then?

You have climbed a tree before, haven't you?

Uh… Yes, of course. It's easy.

Come on so!



Saved your life, second time today.

I thought you knew how to climb trees.

I do. Smaller ones.

Yeah, like bushes.

Don't look down. Come on!



One beetle recognizes another.


Come on.

Open your eyes and I'll tell you my name.



And this is my forest.

Hmm? Oh.

I asked them not to sting you.

Here's what you're looking for.

But they're not really berries.

Ugh! They look like boar droppings.

They're kind of stinky, too.

If you're finished, it's time to go back down.

Back down. Hmm.

AISLING: A bit left.

No, wait! Don't lean on that…


I'm sorry it took so long to come down.

Oh. Except for the last part.

We'd better go now. I know a secret way to get you home.

Come on!





What are you doing? Come away!

This is a place of suffering.

Suffering? What do you mean?

Just come away! It's too dangerous.

Surely it can't be more dangerous than climbing an oak tree.

It is the cave of the Dark One.

Crom Cruach?

But Crom Cruach's only a story for children.

The Abbot of Kells says that you shouldn't be afraid of imaginary things.

It's not imagined.

It's waiting in the darkness.

Waiting for someone to awaken it.

Aisling, you're only scaring yourself.

The Abbot says that that's all pagan nonsense.

There's no such thing as Crom Cruach.

Crom Cruach.

Don't speak its name!

You're really frightened?


Are you hurt?

What was that?

I told you.


Brendan? Hmm?

You can visit the forest again, if you like.

And Pangur can come, too.


But, uh, on Iona we always arranged them… CELLACH: This is not Iona.

The scriptorium will be arranged according to my instructions.

But it's not a good… CELLACH: It will be as I say.

Brother Aidan! I found them! I… CELLACH: Well, Brendan. It's about time we saw you today.

Where have you been? Hmm?

I'm listening. Where were you?

I… I went into the forest.

Just for a little while, not very long.

Just to… It was for Brother Aidan… Brendan.

Have I not warned you enough about what lies outside these walls?

Yes, but… Yet you disobey me.

I know, but for the book… Brendan.

You are never to leave the abbey again without my permission.

Uncle, if you see the book… Do you understand?

Yes, Uncle.


Now, come along, there are matters to be tended to in the workroom.

BRENDAN: Look! Huh? What?

I found them.

You did? So you did!

I did have a little help.

From a friend in the forest.


Well, there's nothing you can't do when you have friends to help you, huh?

Now, let's see.

Yes. Yes, I believe these will do very nicely.

From tiny berries do great images come to life.

Come along!

Hmm. Hmm!

A good one. Lot of smoke. That's a good sign.

It is? Yes.

Ah, beautiful.

From a stinky berry.

Making ink is all very well, but it is useless without one of these.

I'm not… I'm not allowed to… There's no one but us here now.

Just you and your imagination.


Me? No. I'm not afraid of imaginary things.

Keep going. Finish what you start.


Not bad, huh?

I'd say he could do it right enough.

Do what?

I must confess, my boy, I haven't been completely honest with you.

I cannot do the Chi-Rho page.

My eyes have become too old and my hands unsteady.

But you said… CELLACH: Brendan.

You should be the one to do that page!

Me? No! I can never.

I won't… There must be somebody else.

You have to do it. I would ruin it.

CELLACH: Brendan. AIDAN: No, no, no.

Of course you can do it.

You found those berries, you've certainly developed a steady hand.

CELLACH: Brendan!

Even before I came, you'd already learned much from the other Brothers' work.

You've only to unleash your imagination! CELLACH: Brendan!

I have to go.

Where have you been so early?

Come along, there's much work to be done.

I don't know, Pangur.

Something I cannot see stops him.

If he is ever to light up the Chi-Rho page, he'll have to turn around and stare whatever it is in the face!

CELLACH: Brendan!

We're moving the scaffolding to the west wall. Hurry along now!

Well, I think you're ready to learn Columbkille's secret.


The mesmerizing detail.

Of course, you'll need another eye.

Now, once I find the crystal… Brother… …it'll open up a whole new world.

A tiny wonder.

Columbkille instructed that the crystal should never be used unless the work is worthy of it.

It has not been used since Iona.

What's a crystal?

This is not a crystal, it's the crystal!

The Eye of Columbkille.

Columbkille created over 300 books in his lifetime.

By his own hand.

On his deathbed, he prayed that his apprentice got a vision as clear and wonderful as his own.

Then, as he drew his last breath, it dropped from his hand.

The Eye of Columbkille.

Columbkille would want it to go to you.

Where is it?

Sorry, Pangur.

Have you seen it?

Where could it have… It's lost.

It's all lost!

Where did you last have it?

I don't understand.

If I could show the crystal to you, all would become clear.

But… I… I can still continue my training, can't I?

Have you ever studied the tiny pattern on a greenfly's wing?

No. And you never will without the crystal.

What if we pray for a miracle?

Like Columbkille did?

Some say that before the crystal became known as the Eye of Columbkille, it had an ancient name.

Named for the creature that Columbkille won the crystal from deep inside one of its dwelling places.

BRENDAN: Crom Cruach!

It was called the Eye of Crom Cruach.


I can't tell you which parts of this story are true and what parts are shrouded by the mists.

Oh, there's nothing in this life but mist.

We're only here for a short while.

Don't worry, Pangur. I won't be alone.


You've been forbidden to leave the abbey.

Now you are also forbidden to enter the scriptorium.

Please, Uncle, you don't understand.

Oh, I understand perfectly well!

No more excursions, no more scriptorium and no more Brother Aidan.


What did you say?

I can't do that.

I can't give up the book, Uncle.

If you looked at just one page, you'd see why.

You've forgotten how important it is.

All you want for us is this wall.

Brother Aidan said you were an illuminator once.

He said… That's enough!

If I can't trust you to stay out of harm's way, you'll have to remain here until you see sense.

Cellach, please, don't blame the boy.

I'll have a talk with him and… You'll do no such thing.

You can't… Brother Tang will bring him his meals and once there is nothing left here to distract him… Let me keep the book, Cellach.

It was entrusted to me.

Have it then.

But on the condition that you leave Kells with the first thaw of spring.

AISLING: Brendan.


How can I get you out?

I don't know.

The tower is locked.

And my door is bolted from the outside.

The key is in the Abbot's room.

Maybe you can take a message to Brother Aidan.

♪ You must go where I cannot

♪ Pangur Ban, Pangur Ban

♪ Pangur Ban, Pangur Ban

♪ You must go where I cannot

♪ Pangur Ban, Pangur Ban ♪

Why did the Abbot put you in there?

Because I disobeyed him. Why?


The Eye of Crom!

No, it's a crystal.

I think there's one in the Dark One's cave.

I have to go there.

No, Brendan, it's tricking you.

You should have stayed in your tower.

Crom Cruach took my people, it took my mother.

It takes everything. You will die!

Aisling, if I don't try, the book will never be complete.

The book.

All right then, I will help you.

Aisling! This place is hurting you. You must go back.

I'll find some other way.

I… I must help you.

Please, Aisling, go now!

Turn the darkness into light.





Old fools! Oh!

Old fools should learn to keep quiet.

Unless young fools want to listen.

Ha! You're here! How… How did you… How did you get out of the tower?

You must go back before the Abbot finds out.

Look, look, this… This is not the place for you, lad, there is nothing for you here.

But you are here, the book is here and the Eye is here.

How is this possible? It was destroyed!

There is more than one story about the Eye.

There is more than one dwelling place for the Dark One.

And he had more than one eye.

You entered one of the Dark One's caves?

You can't find out everything from books, you know.

And I think I read that once.

Right, then, it is time to begin.

Your breakfast, Abbot.

Take it to Brendan.

See if… See if he has come to his senses.



It's like heaven, no?

ASSOUA: Heaven on Earth.

Please… Please, Abbot, it's my fault.

You little fool!

The Northmen are upon us, and here you are drawing!

We have one day before the Vikings attack Kells!

The gate won't hold. We must… We must run from here!

The gate will hold! You will lead the new refugees into the chapel.

They can seek comfort there until the attackers move on.

Tang, tell villagers to stay in their huts.


You'll be safe in here with your precious book.

No, not yet!

Stay inside!

Tang! Open the door!

Into the tower!

One at a time!

The steps aren't strong enough!

Tang, there are too many!

It's too late.

Close the door!


Ink! We have to make ink!

Brendan, wait, wait, wait. We can't… Hurry!



No! We must save him!

Quickly, Brendan, where is the secret passage to the forest?

We have to save him!

We can't help him now.


We… We cannot stop.

I have to go back.

The Northmen left no one on Iona, they will leave no one in Kells.

My uncle.

He lived to protect you.

The only way he knew how.

Now, I must protect you for Cellach and for the book.





We have to keep running, Brendan, and hope that we are fast enough.

He's alive!

I'm so tired.

Tang, leave me be.


Leave me be.

You are the Abbot of Kells!

You must get up!

Mmm-hmm. Oh!

AIDAN: The book was never meant to be hidden away behind walls, locked away from the world which inspired its creation.

Brendan, you must take the book to the people so that they may have hope.

Let it light the way in these dark days of the Northmen.



I'm so tired.

Please, Abbot, you must take your rest.

Rest? With our most important treasure destroyed?

But how was I to know?

How could I know he would perish?

Please, Abbot.

He was only a boy.

Angel of Darkness!

Not yet!

Not yet!

I need time!



It is a dream.

This is no dream.

I'm so happy to find you here.

I thought I'd lost you a long time ago.

CELLACH: Brendan, you were only a boy.

All those innocents lost.

All my fault.

Please, Uncle, do not distress yourself.

You don't understand.

I have no time, Brendan.

You were right.

About Kells, about Aidan, about the book. I shouldn't have.

This is all I have left.

It is the only comfort I have in this world.

Brother Aidan was right.

And I tried to stop him.

Aidan never paid you much heed, Uncle.

Well, I suppose not.

Brother Aidan lived to see his work passed on and completed.

The Book of Iona!

The Book of Kells?

The Book of Kells.