Durrow is one of 26 monasteries that was founded by St Columcille in 550 before he reached the age of 25! St Columcille also founded the famous Abbeys in Derry, Kells as well as in Iona in Scotland. Durrow was one of the earliest and was regarded as one most important places of learning in the country. Over the years it was sacked and ravished by local warring clans and also by the Vikings. The famous illuminated manuscript Book of Durrow, now at Trinity College, Dublin, was discovered in the hands of a local farmer after the Reformation. This book may date to the 7th or 8th century but was probably made elsewhere. It was in the monastery by 916 and is regarded as the earliest surviving fully decorated Insular Gospel book. The beautifully carved High Cross stands at 3.6m and depicts the Crucifixion and the glory of the risen Christ. It also depicts a serpent which is a symbol for survival and a griffin which represents a ruler of the Earth and Sky. The cross,  together with several cross-slabs are now housed in a small exhibition within a conserved church. The cross stands 3.60 meters tall. This location has some of the only remaining pre-medieval oak in Ireland and the line of oak trees which lines the fields to the side the Abbey also marks the route of the ancient highway of Ireland. In July 1054, according to record in the Annals Of The Four Masters, monks in the Durrow Abbey observed a bright star that appeared overnight. Their observation is the only known European sighting of the Supernova of 1054. Other known observations were recorded in Chinese annals.