In a city crammed with celebrated museums, Dublin’s Chester Beatty Library has maintained its popularity since being voted the Best Irish Museum back in 2000. The historic library harbors a vast collection of around 22,000 items, featuring books, artworks and manuscripts ranging from 2700BC to the present day and including a number of notable rare works. Located in the grounds of Dublin Castle, the Chester Beatty Library opened in 1990 and owes its namesake, American collector Chester Beatty, for its incredible assembly of works, bequeathed to the public library after his death.
Renowned for its impressive assemblage of ancient oriental, Islamic and Indian texts, the library hosts a range of sacred texts, with highlights including an ancient copy of the Acts of the Apostles and early Bible texts written on papyrus. Even those typically unmoved by books are sure to find something of intrigue in the permanent exhibitions (entitled ‘Sacred Traditions’, the ‘Western Collection’ and ‘Arts of the Book’) where some of the world’s most breathtaking texts chronicle the history of bookmaking and storytelling. Exquisite 17th century hand-painted Japanese scrolls are displayed beside Egyptian papyrus texts and miniature texts stand nearby strikingly illuminated copies of the Koran, making the building a veritable paradise for book lovers.
Once you’ve finished marveling at the books, be sure to take in the views from the library’s rooftop garden, where you can chow down on an array of Middle Eastern and Mediterranean at the popular Silk Road Café and take in the view when visiting Dublin Castle.