The Secret Of Kells
The Secret Of Kells
The Secret of Kells theatrical poster

Directed by

Tomm Moore

Produced By

Paul Young

Written by

Fabrice Ziolkowski (screenplay) Tomm Moore (story)


Brendan Gleeson and Evan McGuire Christen Mooney and Mick Lally

Music by

Bruno Coulais

Running time

75 minutes (1 hour and 15 minutes)


Belgium, Ireland and France


English, French, and Irish

The Secret Of Kells (working title: Brendan and The Secret Of Kells) is an animated fantasy feature film distributed by Cartoon Saloon . It premiered on February 11, 2009 in France and Belgum, March 3, 2009 on Ireland, and March 12, 2010 in the United States. On February 2, 2010, it was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature, but lost to Up.


The movie begins with Aisling whispering. She tells the audience about her history and how the vikings attacked many villages and killed many people for gold.

Meanwhile, in Kells, Brendan and the other Brothers are chasing the goose . While chasing it, Brendan falls down from the wall and sees the outside world from a crack. He gets scared and walks away. When they finally caught the goose, the pluck out five feathers from it. Suddenly, Abbot Cellach arrives and asks Brendan for the papers. He says that he left it in the scriptorium , and the Abbot orders him to go get it.

In the scriptorium, the brothers tell Brendan about brother Aidan and the Book of Iona . There, Brendan has a dream about Iona being attacked and the book destroyed. He wakes up and realizes he forgot to bring the papers to Abbot Cellach. He hurries up and the Abbot gets dissappointed. Brendan looks out the window and finds out a new brother has arrived at Kells. He goes out to meet him.

Abbot Cellach tells everyone that the brother was Brother Aidan, and everyone is shocked. They go to the scriptorium where Brendan askes Aidan about the book. Before Aidan could answer, Abbot Cellach talks to him, and Aidan mouths to Brendan to feed the cat, but the cat runs away. As Brendan follows it, he overhears Aidan and Abbot Cellach talking.

At night, Brendan sneaks into the scriptorium and tries to peek at the book, but Pangur Ban caught him doing it. Brendan tells him that he means no harm to the book. Pangur Ban believes him, and they became friends. Aidan suddenly arrives and allows Brendan to watch the book. He also asks Brendan if he could help him get some gall nuts for ink .

Brendan at first hesitastes, but he thinks about the book and goes outside the walls for the gall nuts. He gets lost and almost gets attacked by wolves until Aisling comes and told them not to hurt Brendan. She helps him get the gall nuts.

After Brendan gets the gall nuts, he goes into the cave of Crom Cruach . Aisling tells him not to, but Brendan didn't listen. Crom Cruach nearly got Brendan until Aisling saves him.

When Brendan returns to Kells, Abbot Cellach asks where he was. He tells him about the forest. Abbot Cellach gets angry and forbids Brendan from going out the walls ever again. The next morning, Brendan goes to the scriptorium and gives Aidan the gall nuts, and they make ink.

Soon, Aidan realizes he lost the crystal, so Brendan goes out to find it. Abbot Cellach catches him and locks him in his room. Aisling helps him escape and they go to the cave of Crom. Brendan gets the crystal and goes back to the spectorium.

Abbot Cellach learns about this and gets very angry. He locks Brendan in the high tower. Aisling and Pangur Ban help him escape.

Suddenly, the Vikings attacked. Fortunately, Aidan and Brendan were able to escape Kells.

As Brendan grows older, he finishes the Chi-Rho page and Aidan gives it to him. Brendan returns to Kells, and shows Abbot Cellach the chi-rho, and he is finally happy.

Voice CastEdit

Paul Young as Brother Square


The Secret Of Kells got positive reviews from almost every critic. It recieved a 90% certified "fresh" rating from Rotten Tomatoes with the consensus, "Beautifully drawn and refreshingly calm, The Secret of Kells hearkens back to animation's golden age with an enchanting tale inspired by Irish mythology." It recieved 35 fresh reviews and 4 rotten ones. One critic said, "This Irish feature won’t impress anyone with its character drawings, but the backgrounds remind us what stunning imagery once resulted from nothing more than a pen and all the time in the world." Another critic said, "A glorious throwback to the more stylized, painterly work of decades past, the kind of vividly colored, fanciful pictorials that are usually confined to the small-scale realm of animated shorts."

Awards and NominationsEdit


  • 2008: won the Directors Finders Award at the Directors Finders Series in Ireland
  • 2009: won the Audience Award at the Annecy International Animated Film Festival
  • 2009: won the Audience Award at the Edinburgh International Film Festival
  • 2009: won the Roy E. Disney Award at Seattle's 2D Or Not 2D Film Festival
  • 2010: won the Best Animation award at the 7th Irish Film and Television Awards


  • 2009: Grand Prix Award for Best Film in the Annecy International Animated Film Festival
  • 2009: Best Animated Film at the European Film Awards
  • 2009: Annie Award for Best Animated Feature
  • 2010: Irish Film and Television Awards for Best Film
  • 2010: Academy Award for Best Animated Feature Film

External LinksEdit