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“Hidden Cultural Gem”

Chester Beatty Library
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Dublin Pass with Hop-On Hop-Off Tour and Entry to Over 30 Attractions
Ranked #9 of 503 things to do in Dublin
Certificate of Excellence
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Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Owner description: With free admission and described by the Lonely Planet as 'not just the best museum in Ireland, but one of the best in Europe', the Chester Beatty Library is a must-see on any Dublin visitor's itinerary. As the only museum in Ireland to win 'European Museum of the Year' and rated consistently in the top 6 of TripAdvisor's list of 'Top things to do in Dublin', the library's rich collections from countries across Asia, the Middle East, North Africa and Europe open a window on the artistic treasures of the great cultures and religions of the world.
Level Contributor
35 reviews
19 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 47 helpful votes
“Hidden Cultural Gem”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 20 August 2014

The Chester Beatty is without doubt one of the finer locations for enjoying 'high' cultural Arts. Nestled snugly within Dublin Castle it's a pleasant and interesting attraction to navigate to - this in itself providing some points of historical and cultural interest.
The Library is primarily known as being one developed and collected privately over many years and subsequently made accessible to the public. Its emphasis is on religious and cultural artifacts, particularly within the literary realm from across the Near, Mid and Far Eastern World. This may not sound overly appealing but once you arrive to what's essentially a compact, well designed and relaxed environment you're bound to find something to stimulate the cogs.
They have a nice habit of rotating displays and brining new items to the Library that keeps it fresh and interesting. Clearly they need a bigger space if they're ever to display the collection in its entirety. The collection is arranged across 3 floors and there's full accessibility for those with disabilities or difficulties ascending stairs. With an open Arboretum design the space is airy and spacious, despite being smaller than you might anticipate. There's a fantastic place to eat on the ground floor, called the Silk Road Cafe, which provides a number of incredibly sumptuous dishes from the regions through which the Silk Road traditionally passed. Service is quick, friendly and comes at an acceptable price given the quality and surroundings. Vegans and vegetarians take note - there are usually at least 2 great dishes to pick from here.
Open all year round and bang in the city centre you couldn't go wrong whiling away a few hours in the Chester Beatty, or among it's outside gardens.... and for those who really want a place to get away, head to the roof. This is where they keep the best space of all - a wonderful rooftop garden that gives you a great view over the interior of Dublin Castle and provides peace and relaxation rarely found in the heart of an Urban space.

Visited May 2014
1 Thank Cozski
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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2,963 reviews from our community

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English first
Madison, Wisconsin
Level Contributor
197 reviews
110 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 121 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 19 August 2014

I only stumbled into this "library" because I was wandering around the castle - so glad I went in. The books, artifacts and paintings are superb. Well organized and displayed, beautiful pieces, interesting variety and diversity. I'd love to back for a second visit and spend more time.

Visited August 2014
Thank Mathyew
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Bloomington, Illinois
Level Contributor
105 reviews
48 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 46 helpful votes
“Amazing collection nicely presented”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 19 August 2014

An astounding collection of rare books and art -- really lovely. The collection encompasses most of the world's cultures and religions, and is quite well presented. Best of all, it is free and a lot less crowded than the Book of Kells.

Visited August 2014
Thank Julian W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Bronx, New York
Level Contributor
456 reviews
230 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 250 helpful votes
“The most interesting little museum - the Chester Beatty Library.”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 17 August 2014


Do not give up! Although there are signage pointing to the location of the Chester Beatty Library, it takes a great deal of time and patience to actually locate the Library. After walking through the Castle grounds and wandering through the small but beautiful garden, one finally arrives at the building. As I usually start at the top floor of the museum, I was surprised to arrive to a small, tranquil and beautiful terrace garden with nice views of the Castle and the garden. The second floor has a well organized gallery dedicated to the great religions of the world: Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, and Hinduism. Each religion is presented in an objective manner with artifacts Sir Beatty collected over his life time. The first level is dedicated to the Art of the Book which has ancient artifacts, manuscripts, illustrations, scrolls, bindings, wood blocks and prints from around the world. There is also a reading room used for research. This museum is absolutely wonderful and well worth spending at least three hours enjoying the outstanding collection. There is a 15 minute film at the entry giving an overview of the life of Sir Beatty. There is a wonderful cafeteria on the ground level. This is perhaps the most interesting small museum I have ever visited and best of all the admission price was right - free.

Visited August 2014
Thank Gregg H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Larkspur, CA
Level Contributor
23 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
“My Favorite Site in Dublin!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 17 August 2014

I loved the CB Library! I had been encouraged by Irish friends to go, and was not disappointed. Saw things here that I had never ever seen in the world. Well displayed and curated to educate and amaze. Will go again and again!

Visited August 2014
Thank MidwestGal60
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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