None of my guest have been able to get into Dublin Castle, although I had the chance to see it last September, on Culture Night. I’ve finally figured out why it’s closed to tourists. This year Ireland is the president of the EU. The Castle is being used for all sorts of formal ceremonial event. Therefore, it’s closed to the public until June 30.
A tourist to Dublin will find the best view of the castle from the mort side, looking south from the garden in the front of the Chester Beatty Library.
The Chester Beatty is still open and offers one of the most fascinating places to visit in Dublin. To access it, you have to go around the west wall of the castle and through the side gate.
Patty, Kitty Lee, and I visited the Chester Beatty Library and saw fragments of the Bible that date back to 150 AD. These are some of the oldest pieces of the document in existence in the world. While at the Beatty Library, we also saw a temporary exhibition of paintings including one that Patty has always admired, The Gleaners. It was painted by Jules Adolphe Aimé Louis Breton in 1854. It’s from the period when artists were trying to record the daily life of laborers and the hard reality they faced in the mid-1800s. We could have spent much longer in the exhibits as we had very little time in the non-Christian collections on this particular visit.
The Library’s website explains:
Described by the Lonely Planet as not just the best museum in Ireland, but one of the best in Europe, the Chester Beatty Library, Dublin is an art museum and library which houses the great collection of manuscripts, miniature paintings, prints, drawings, rare books and some decorative arts assembled by Sir Alfred Chester Beatty (1875-1968). Its rich collections from countries across Asia, the Middle East, North Africa and Europe opens a window on the artistic treasures of the great cultures and religions of the world. Chester Beatty Library was named Irish Museum of the year in 2000 and was awarded the title European Museum of the Year in 2002.
Egyptian papyrus texts, beautifully illuminated copies of the Qur’an, the Bible, European medieval and renaissance manuscripts are among the highlights of the collection. In its diversity, the collection captures much of the richness of human creative expression from about 2700 BC to the present day.
Admission to the Chester Beatty Library is free!