The Chester Beatty Library is sort of a trick because it’s not really a library with shelves and shelves of books. It’s actually an art gallery or sorts, but with a unified story thread running through each exhibit. We weren’t allowed to take photos, though, so I don’t have much to offer for visuals. You’ll have to use your imagination.
Jess, Courtney, Abbie, and me went just after we toured the Dublin Castle because it’s right in the backyard. There was no cost to get in, which was excellent since Dublin Castle cost me 8.50 Euro. The main exhibit was of the history of book binding dating back from the earliest forms of writing through to the invention of the printing press and beyond. We saw ancient texts, the discovery of which created our current knowledge of the Bible and division into Old and New Testaments. There were ancient scrolls from Asia with intricate drawings and old wise tales. The crowning jewel were the old books hand-bound in leather and treasured for centuries. Pages gilded in gold, bindings still holding strong after 400+ years. As a lover of books it was all very cool.
Other exhibits included a cartoonist named Matthew Darly, who drew political cartoons a couple hundred years ago and a room dedicated to religions around the world. The political cartoons featured commentaries on womens’ roles and fashion choices (he drew a women with a fruit stall in her hair), aging, and war. Some of them were a hoot; others were humor a couple hundred years over our heads. By the time we got to the religion exhibit, we were getting tired, so we breezed through quickly, looking at Buddha statues and Hindu gods and wondering, why, or why, are the Jews always excluded from the party?
At the gift shop we found post cards of some of our favorite exhibits along with beautiful cat-motif notebooks and joke books. There were elephants everywhere, which is Jess’s favorite animal, but she refrained from buying anything. We left shortly before closing time at 5:00 PM sharp, and proceeded to get lost on our way home. No better adventure than that, I’d say.