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Kells (Irish: Ceanannas "Great Chief Abode") is a town in County Meath in Ireland. The town lies on the N3 road, and lies 16km (10 miles) from Navan and 64km (40 miles) from Dublin. In recent years the town has expanded considerably with many Dublin commuters moving to the town.
The monastery at Kells is thought to have been first founded around 804 A.D. It was founded by monks fleeing from St Colmcille's Iona monastery, to escape Viking invasions. At the end of the 12th century Hugh de Lacy was granted the whole of Meath and under the Anglo-Normans the religious establishments at Kells flourished.
Kells, as border town of the Pale, was the scene of many battles, between Anglo, Irish and Norman fighters. During Tudor times, it was used as a mustering place for soldiers.
The Abbey of Kells, with its round tower, is associated with St Columba (also called St Colmcille) and with the Book of Kells, now kept at Trinity College Dublin. The round tower and five large Celtic crosses that can still be viewed today. Four of the crosses are in the church yard of St Columba's church, the other, a large Celtic cross that was positioned in the middle of a busy crossroads, until an unfortunate accident involving a cumbersome articulated lorry. It now stands in front of a former courthouse (which is now a museum and coffeeshop), and has a roof over it to protect it from the elements.