If I could live in a museum I would. Yesterday I mentioned we’d visit the interiors of Dublin Castle so let’s begin with the Chester Beatty Library, which was once an army ordinance office on these grounds:
The most striking thing about Dublin Castle is what a hodge-podge of architectural styles it is. But that is a testament to its evolving history through the changing of the guards, from Vikings to generations of kings. The library itself was built in the 1700s with an addition completed in the late 1900s. Its lofty interior bids a sunny welcome to visitors even on a cloudy day:
The CBL is both a library and an art museum (can life get any better!) with an exquisite collection of manuscripts, prints, rare publications, drawings and decorative arts from all corners of the world. Sir A. Chester Beatty was actually born in New York! I could easily spend an entire day here but sadly my schedule doesn’t permit it.
Below are views of the castle ground from the rooftop garden of the library–the green area makes up the Dubhlinn Gardens, and the patterns on the green is Celtic in design marked by paving stones. It now doubles as a helipad. This is what I find endearing about the Irish, how practical they are. On top of being witty and irreverent. Sure, it’s a place of great importance historically but why not put it to multiple use instead of simply enshrining it.Â Dubh linnÂ means dark pool in Gaelic and a dark pool had occupied this space before. Â Supposedly the city got its name from this very area:
Anyway, on my way out I stop by the gift shop where I’m given a couple of free books (free art books??Life does get better!) because I have the Dublin Pass. OK so here’s where I have to plug the Dubliners. The gentlemen at the gift store and the front desk couldn’t be lovelier. They take the time to chat with me as if we’d been friends forever. And when I am on the bench looking at a map another nice guy asks if he could help. I’ve been to lots of places and have found Dubliners to be some of the friendliest people toward tourists.
Tomorrow we explore the other structures in the castle, but how’s this as a preview for what you’re going to see?