The Secret of Kells

February 11, 2009 0 By Fans
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The animated story of the boy behind the famed Book of Kells.

Release Year: 2009

Rating: 7.5/10 (7,385 voted)

Critic's Score: 81/100

Tomm Moore

Stars: Evan McGuire, Brendan Gleeson, Mick Lally

Young Brendan lives in a remote medieval outpost under siege from barbarian raids. But a new life of adventure beckons when a celebrated master illuminator arrives from the isle of Iona carrying an ancient but unfinished book, brimming with secret wisdom and powers. To help complete the magical book, Brendan has to overcome his deepest fears on a dangerous quest that takes him into the enchanted forest where mythical creatures hide. It is here that he meets the fairy Aisling, a mysterious young wolf-girl, who helps him along the way. But with the barbarians closing in, will Brendan's determination and artistic vision illuminate the darkness and show that enlightenment is the best fortification against evil?

Writers: Tomm Moore, Fabrice Ziolkowski


Evan McGuire



Christen Mooney



Brendan Gleeson

Abbot Cellach


Mick Lally



Liam Hourican

Brother Tang

(as Liam Hourrican)

Paul Tylak

Brother Assoua

(as Paul Tylac)

Michael McGrath

Adult Brendan


Paul Young

Brother Square


Nora Twomey

Additional Voices


Marie Thorhauge

Additional Voices


Jonas Till Hoffmann

Additional Voices

(as Jonas Hoffmann)

Fabian Erlinghauser

Additional Voices

(as Fabian Erlinghäuser)

Kairen Waloch

Additional Voices



Official Website:
GKIDS [United States] |
Gébéka Films [France] |

Release Date: 11 February 2009

Filming Locations: Kilkenny, County Kilkenny, Ireland

Box Office Details

Budget: €6,500,000


Opening Weekend: €7,085
(15 February 2009)
(15 Screens)

Gross: $921,121
(19 April 2009)

Technical Specs



Did You Know?


Aisling, the fairy girl, is named after a 17th-century genre of Irish poetry. Aisling is Irish for "dream vision." In an Aisling poem, the poet would describe receiving a vision of the spirit of Ireland, who appeared to him in the form of a beautiful young woman. The female spirit of Ireland would inspire the poet to write about his homeland, and serve as his guide in creating the poem (much as Aisling serves as Brendan's guide in the film).


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

I think I read that once.

User Review


Rating: 9/10

The Secret of Kells is a film I've been waiting for for years after
seeing some early footage at the Cartoon Saloon in Kilkenny. I'm here
to tell you now it's been worth the wait. The cartoons are heavily
stylised but not annoyingly so as I'd feared. The whole film is a thing
of beauty and great imagination, I particularly love the animated
illuminated book where the little figures come to life on the page. The
characterisation is superb, I love Brendan Gleeson's voice as the stern
Abbot and I especially liked the voice of the sprite Aisling. The
forest is a triumph, such a beautiful place. The story is well
realised, a mix of fact and fantasy. and really draws the viewer in to
cheer on Brendan in his quest for the perfect materials for the Book.
I'm a lover of calligraphy and illumination anyway so the subject is
close to my heart, but all the people I know who've seen this and are
not fans of the craft agree that it's a lovely little film. I will
definitely buy the DVD when it's released, and would like to say, well
done Cartoon Saloon and all the people involved in this mammoth
project. May there be many more. 🙂 Coming back in here to say that I
bought several copies of the DVD as soon as I could and gave them out
at Christmas, everyone loves it! And I wish them all the luck in the
world at the Oscars, such a joy to see this nominated.