DUBLIN — The Chester Beatty Library delivers an engrossing cross-cultural immersion into the art of the book, without the hoopla, price, or crowds of Trinity College’s famed Book of Kells. Located in the clock tower building adjacent to Dublin Castle, the admission-free Beatty houses one of the world’s finest private collections of manuscripts and books. Self-made US mining magnate and philanthropist Sir Alfred Chester Beatty (1875-1968) amassed the religious, secular, and artistic works in the early 20th century, choosing each not for its literary value but for its artistic merit. The treasures, comprising East Asian, Islamic, and Western collections, span nearly 5,000 years and provide an extraordinary perspective on each culture. Among the prized objects displayed in the permanent “Art of the Book and Sacred Traditions” exhibitions are rare and illuminated manuscripts, Egyptian Books of the Dead, some of the finest Islamic works and Chinese jade books in existence, Japanese picture scrolls, European printed books, Old Master prints, and exquisite examples of bookbinding. Pair a visit with lunch in the library’s Silk Road Cafe, where the flavors, presentation, and quality complement the exhibits.
CHESTER BEATTY LIBRARY Dublin Castle, Dublin, 011-353-1-407-0750, www.cbl.ie