This dazzling collection of early religious texts and other priceless artifacts within Dublin Castle is named in honor of Sir Alfred Chester Beatty, an Anglo-American industrialist who bequeathed his unique private collection to the Irish nation when he died in 1968. And what a collection it is! Beatty was one of the great 20th-century adventurer-collectors, of the kind that simply could not exist today. Highlights of the bequest include breathtaking illuminated gospels and early Bibles (including the oldest known fragment in existence, from a.d. 150); impeccable 15th-century Qurans; Quranic scrolls from the 8th and 9th centuries; and sacred Buddhist texts from Burma and Tibet. The display is constantly changing, and you’re unlikely to see the same manuscripts on every visit. If there’s a better museum of this size in Ireland, we have yet to find it. Why queue and pay a tenner to see two pages from the Book of Kells when you can lose yourself in this wonderful place for free?
- Jack Jewers