ONE OF IRELAND'S FINEST CULTURAL ATTRACTIONS
The Chester Beatty Library is a must-see on any Dublin visitor's itinerary, and admission is free. Housed in an eighteenth-century Clock Tower Building in the gardens of Dublin Castle, it is one of Ireland’s best cultural attractions and is the only museum in Ireland to win 'European Museum of the Year'.
Chester Beatty’s library has been described as the finest collection of manuscripts and books made by a private collector in the 20th century. It includes representative samples of the world’s heritage (artistic, religious and secular) from about 2700 BC to the present century.
The collections from countries across Asia, the Middle East, North Africa and Europe open a window on the artistic treasures of the great cultures and religions of the world.
Manuscripts, miniature paintings, prints, drawings, rare books and decorative arts complete this amazing collection - all the result of the collecting activities of one man - Sir Alfred Chester Beatty (1875-1968).
The venue houses a conservation laboratory, reading room, lecture space, an audio-visual theatre as well as three exhibition galleries and a roof garden. A restaurant, shop and ground-floor concourse provide facilities for visitors and for a variety of activities.
The Western treasures of the Library include some of the earliest sources on papyrus for the bible and a great library of Manichean texts. The Biblical Papyri, dating from the second to the fourth century AD, consist of the earliest known copies of the four gospels and Acts of the Apostles, the Letters of St Paul, the Book of Revelation and various very early Old Testament fragments. Armenian and Western European manuscripts from medieval, Renaissance and modern times, prints, early and fine books and bindings complete a remarkable conspectus of the arts of manuscript production and printing from many cultures and periods.
Over 6,000 individual items, mainly manuscripts and single-page paintings and calligraphies, make up the Islamic Collections. This includes more than 260 complete and fragmentary Qur’ans, some dating from the late eighth and ninth centuries and including the work of the leading calligraphers of the Islamic world.
The East Asian Collections include a fine series of albums and scrolls from China, the largest collection of jade books from the Imperial Court outside China and a large collection of textiles and decorative objects. The Japanese holdings contain many superb painted scrolls from the 17th and 18th century, woodblock prints by Hiroshige and Hokusai and many others as well as decorative art objects.
The Library welcomes young visitors. They can explore the Library through specially designed activities for 3+, 5+ and 8+. These include, puzzles, crosswords and a colouring book. Worksheets are available at the Library or download them from their website. A Creative Corner, located in the first floor lobby of the Library, gives all ages an opportunity to respond to the exhibitions through art. Please also check the Library's public online programme on www.cbl.ie
The Chester Beatty Library is situated in the gardens of Dublin Castle in the heart of the city centre.
It is a two-minute walk from Dame Street (via the Palace Street Gate of the Castle) and close to Christchurch Cathedral (enter via the Ship Street Gate of the Castle).
Nearest LUAS stops: Jervis & St Stephen's Green
Nearest DART station: Tara Street.
Bus routes: 13, 40, 123, 27, 77a, 150, 151, 156, 49, 54a