Many of the finest works from Sir Alfred Chester Beatty's priceless art collection are housed in this purpose-built museum. An Irish-American mining magnate with a passion for the East, Chester Beatty settled here in the 1950s and bequeathed his life's collection to the Irish people in 1969.
Manuscripts, icons, miniature paintings, early prints and objets d'art from Europe and the Far East take you through the differing traditions of belief and learning in the Western, Islamic and East Asian worlds. Beautiful Buddhas, intricate Chinese lanterns, delicate snuff boxes and Japanese woodcuts stand beside illuminated, ninth-century copies of the Koran and some of the earliest Christian scrolls. And if you tire of religious artefacts, a collection of illustrated 20th-century texts includes a storybook by Matisse and charming Parisian fashion plates from the 1920s. Upstairs is a Zen roof garden, while on the ground floor is the Silk Road café, serving good Middle Eastern-style food, and a carefully stocked museum shop offering postcards, wall hangings, cute toys and even some large furniture pieces.