One of my favourite cultural places in Dublin is the Chester Beatty library, founded by American-born businessman and patron with a passion for collecting old manuscripts. Tucked away behind the Dublin Castle and a round-shaped memorial garden (a quiet and peaceful spot too), it might not be easy to find, but it’s very rewarding.
Even though it’s a museum and not really a library, it’s full of books written on all sorts of media: paper, parchment, wood, and even jade, and it’s a kind of quiet library. Most of the manuscripts are religious (including the oldest-known papyrus Bible from the 3rd century!), but some also depict ancient Asian tales, and the exposition change quite a lot since they only display around 5% of the collection.
Like most museums in Dublin, the entrance is free, and on my first time there I also signed up for a free guided tour run by volunteers. I was lucky to have a former ancient history professor as my tour guide, so I got a two-in-one experience of a history lesson together with the tour. The library also runs temporary exhibitions and workshops, from meditation in their rooftop garden to film screenings and medieval ornament painting classes. So for me, it’s always worth a quick visit, especially when the Dublin weather is nice enough to enjoy the roof terrace. The library also has a small souvenir shop and a cafe.