Vast and Impressive: The Chester Beatty Library, IMG cred: Amy Wiener

The Dublin Castle!

The Chester Beatty Library located in the Dublin Castle complex holds an impressive collection of texts and paintings, ranging from the oldest known written version of the gospel of Mark, to more modern pieces from the last century.  Beatty was a successful American mining consultant, who later established an office in London.  He expanded his hobby of collecting Chinese snuff bottles while traveling the world to historic secular and non-secular texts, and then world renowned paintings.   He was not a fan of contemporary art, and his preference for realist skill, detail, and craftsmanship is evident.   Beatty purchased a library in Ireland to house his collection, and was later made an honorary Irish citizen as well as knighted by the United Kingdom for his material contributions to the allies during World War II.


The building is situated in the Dublin Castle gardens, which currently holds the rotating parliamentary presidency of the European Union.   The location is an attraction in itself, with many other tourist visitor centers on site, such as the Dublin Castle, the Chapel Royal, the State Apartments and the Medieval Undercroft, the Garda Museum and the Revenue Museum.  


The Chester Beatty Library’s front façade suits its location, with an interior replicating a quant courtyard, where visitors can dine (but more commonly enjoy a cup of tea!).  The exhibits themselves are located in modern rooms, separated into two floors, one housing the Art of Books exhibit and Beatty’s personal painting collection, and the other holds the Sacred Traditions exhibit.


The Art of Books collection is vast and impressive, displaying printing techniques from various regions of the world, comparing and contrasting means and methods.  The artistry of the books is stunning and wildly thought provoking to think of the effort and skill level needed to complete one printed copy of any text, which can now be mass produced in minutes.


The Sacred Traditions exhibit is separated into regions and religions, delineating the most well-known religions from Asia, the Middle East, and the Western World.   The exhibit is exceptional in that it supplements historical descriptions with first hand art work and ancient texts, the pivotal pieces of literature central to each faith.


The Library is free to visitors but accepts donations.  While hours are subject to change during the European Union’s presidential seat, the Library is not to be missed.


Experience the collection for yourself and grab cheap flights to Ireland today!


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photo: Amy Wiener

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