The Secret of Kells

February 11th, 2009


The Secret of Kells

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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

Director: 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 - Brendan (voice)
Christen Mooney - Aisling (voice)
Brendan Gleeson - Abbot Cellach (voice)
Mick Lally - Aidan (voice)
Liam Hourican - Brother Tang / Leonardo (voice) (as Liam Hourrican)
Paul Tylak - Brother Assoua (voice) (as Paul Tylac)
Michael McGrath - Adult Brendan (voice)
Paul Young - Brother Square (voice)
Nora Twomey - Additional Voices (voice)
Marie Thorhauge - Additional Voices (voice)
Jonas Till Hoffmann - Additional Voices (voice) (as Jonas Hoffmann)
Fabian Erlinghauser - Additional Voices (voice) (as Fabian Erlinghäuser)
Kairen Waloch - Additional Voices (voice)


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 (estimated)

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

Gross: $921,121 (France) (19 April 2009)

Technical Specs

Runtime: Argentina:

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).

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


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