This is an absolutely stunning collection of rare manuscripts and books, miniature paintings, prints, drawings and decorative arts, beautifully displayed in a modern and well-designed building next to Dublin castle. Of course you will expect to see fine European illuminated medieval manuscripts presented here. However, you may not have expected to see an incredible collection of copies of the Quran, nor an exquisite assembly of Chinese and Japanese scrolls and prints. There is more than that, but this is just to give you a taste of the richness of this collection.
The story behind is also fascinating. Alfred Chester Beatty (1875-1968), a self-made American multi-millionaire in the mining industry, started his collection already at a young age, moved to England and became a naturalized British citizen in 1933. He intended to leave his collection the British Museum, but as they would not keep his collection as one entity, he moved to Dublin in 1950 and donated the entire collection to Ireland. He became an honorary Irish citizen in 1957.
He was a man out of the extraordinary. He was knighted in 1954 by Queen Elizabeth II in recognition of the war materials he had donated to the allied war efforts.
The same can be said about his collection - out of the extraordinary. An absolute gem!
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