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Chester Beatty Library
The Chester Beatty Library was established in Dublin in 1950 to house the collections of mining magnate, Sir Alfred Chester Beatty. The present library, on the grounds of Dublin Castle, opened on February 7th 2000, the 125th anniversary of Sir Alfred's birth and was named European Museum of the Year in 2002.
The Library's exhibitions open a window on the artistic treasures of the great cultures and religions of the world. The rich collection from countries across Asia, the Middle East, North Africa and Europe offers visitors a visual feast. The Library's collections are displayed in two collections: "Sacred Traditions" and "Artistic Traditions". Both displays exhibit manuscripts, miniature paintings, prints, drawings, rare books and some decorative arts from the Islamic, East Asian and Western Collections. The Library is one of the premier sources for scholarship in both the Old and New Testaments and is home to one of the most significant collections of Islamic and Far Eastern artefacts. The museum also offers numerous temporary exhibitions, many of which include works of art on loan from foreign institutions and collections. The museum contains a number of priceless objects, including one of the surviving volumes of the first illustrated Life of the Prophet and the Gospel of Mani believed to be the last remaining artefact from Manichaeism.
The library regularly holds specialist workshops, exhibitions and talks on everything from origami to calligraphy, and admission is free. It's easy to escape from the rigours of Western life on the serene rooftop Japanese garden or at the Silk Road Café on the ground floor, which serves delicious Middle Eastern cuisine.
For my first group tour this met and exceeded my expectations as far as the actual activities are concerned. There was a good balance of walking, sight seeing and entertainment.
K Fobes, Florida USA