{Ireland} The Chester Beatty Library

May 8, 2016


100 Museums Challenge: Museum No.40

The Chester Beatty hadn’t been on my radar, for some reason, when planning for Dublin, despite being awarded European Museum of the Year in 2002. But I’m really glad a friend passed on a recommendation, and I managed to squeeze in a short visit before running to catch my bus back to the airport.

Chester Beatty Library 01

Chester Beatty library is situated within the grounds of Dublin Castle. The glass roofed entrance hall that links the parts of the 18th century building looks a bit stark from the outside, but once you step inside, it’s absolutely stunning!

Chester Beatty Library 04

The library holds the collection of American mining magnate and art collector, Sir Alfred Chester Beatty, who retired to Ireland in 1950 and bequeathed his collection for the benefit of the public. The Library became a charitable trust in 1969. The collection presented in the galleries on the upper floors, includes manuscripts, prints, icons, miniature paintings, early printed books and art objects from across Asia, Europe, North Africa and the Middle East. To quote the Library’s brochure, “In its diversity, the collection captures much of the richness of human creative expression from about 2700 BC to the present day.” Egyptian papyrus, illuminated manuscripts from the Bible and Qur’an, Turkish and Persian miniatures, Buddhist paintings, Chinese dragon robes, Japanese woodblock prints – you name it, Chester Beatty collected it!

Chester Beatty Library 03

Each gallery also had activity booklets for children, most of them with two different versions, one for younger and one for older kids, and on the ground floor you can also watch an audio-visual presentation about the life of Sir Alfred Chester Beatty himself. My favourite part of the museum, however – besides the stunning objects on display, was the roof garden. A tranquil space to take some time out and enjoy views of the Castle grounds below and Dublin city in the distance.

Chester Beatty Rooftop Garden 01

Chester Beatty Rooftop Garden 04

Admission to the Chester Beatty Library is free! Opening times vary throughout the year, and can be found on the Library’s website.

Chester Beatty Library 02

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