Brushes with Great Museums

Meeting with Brian Bowe and Gavin Duffy at the Beatty Library’s cafe.

The cafe at the Chester Beatty Library serves up a fine selection of Middle Eastern, North African, Mediterranean, and vegetarian entrees and gluten-free desserts.  We met there for lunch Tuesday since it’s halfway between Gavin’s base on Kevin Street and ours on Bolton Street.

Mom and her neighbors (Tim and Mary) spoke highly of this “Silk Road Cafe.”  The Dean had heard its praises sung as well.  Unfortunately, he was called to a more urgent meeting and couldn’t join us after all.

The Beatty Library’s sun-filled, glass-covered courtyard was a lovely setting for our discussion of student-centered learning, research, and publication strategy.

Shockingly, neither of my colleague had ever been to this incredible museum before!  Yet it houses one of the world’s most astounding collections of religious artifacts.  It represents all the world’s major religions and was donated by the American collector Chester Beatty.  And, amazingly, admission is completely free! (Lunch, however, is not.)

Although I didn’t get Gavin and Brian into the actual exhibit halls, at least they got to experience the covered courtyard and the stunning “Castle garden.” It’s surrounded by a high wall and feels very much like a secret garden. During my childhood, I dearly loved the book The Secret Garden.

Castel Garden, behind Dublin Castle. (Photo borrowed from W&L travel log.)

A few hours after our lunch, I had another brush with great museums when Seán Rainbird lectured at the DIT School of Architecture.  He’s the new director of the National Gallery of Ireland. He has also worked at the Tate in London and the Stattsgallerie in Stuttgart (designed by James Stirling’s office).

Seán Rainbird talked about Joseph Beuys’ fascination with all things Celtic when he spoke at the DIT School of Architecture.

Can you imaging that I delivered a lecture in the same “Schools of Thought” lecture series with such an accomplished person?  Wow!

Seán talked about Joseph Beuys and the Celtic World, the topic of a book he wrote.  He said he had just three weeks to write it!  Can you imagine being so knowledgeable about a topic that you could produce a press-worthy document in just three weeks?  Truly amazing.

They say everyone wants to “be like Mike.”  I’d rather “be like Seán” myself!

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