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Chester Beatty
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Described by the Lonely Planet as not just the best museum in Dublin, but one of the best in Europe, the Chester Beatty is a must-see on any Dublin visitor's itinerary. 

Take a journey across continents, countries and peoples, as you discover treasures of rare quality and beauty from across the globe. This world-renowned, award-winning museum showcases rich and diverse exhibitions of miniature paintings, decorative arts, manuscripts, prints and drawings, from Asia, the Middle East, North Africa and Europe - all the collecting activities of one man, Sir Alfred Chester Beatty (1875-1968).

2020 exhibitions:

In addition to ongoing exhibitions ‘Arts of the Book’ and ‘Sacred Traditions’, Chester Beatty will be displaying two new temporary exhibitions in 2020, one a loan exhibition and the other drawn from their own collections.

Siam through the Lens of John Thomson, 1865-66  (21 February – 17 May 2020)

The range, depth, and quality of John Thomson’s photographic vision mark him as one of history’s most important travel photographers. Born in Edinburgh in 1837, Thomson travelled to Asia in 1862. Over the next ten years he undertook numerous journeys across the region, spending almost a year in the kingdom of Siam (modern Thailand) where he was granted unique access to the court of King Mongkut (r. 1851-68). The photographs Thomson took in Siam include portraits and palace scenes, religious ceremonies, architecture, and cityscapes. Thomson also received permission to visit Angkor Wat (then under Siam’s control), becoming the first to photograph its famous ruins. Featuring twenty-four compelling images, Siam through the Lens of John Thomson, 1865-66 introduces the sights and people of mid-nineteenth-century Thailand as witnessed by his camera.https://chesterbeatty.ie/exhibitions/siam/  

Edo in Colour: Prints from Japan’s Metropolis (19 June 2020 – 10 January 2021)

Bursting into life as capital of Japan’s ruling shogunate, by the mid-18th century, the population of Edo (modern Tokyo) had swelled to over one million. From buskers and teahouse beauties to actors, entertainers, prostitutes and star-crossed lovers, Edo’s people became its celebrities. Embracing the diversity of their lives, woodblock prints were similarly for the masses, an affordable art both commercial and aesthetically rich that shaped the identity of the city as it crafted its image. This symbiotic relationship between print and urban identity will be the focus of the exhibition Edo in Colour, opening at the Chester Beatty on 19 June 2020 and running until 10 January 2021. Featuring more than 100 prints and printed books from the museum’s permanent collection, the exhibition will include some 40 celebrated artists of the period. This wealth of visual arts will be staged across two rotations, with a full changeover halfway through, making a nod to the seasonal cues in the prints. The exhibition will be accompanied by a full-colour catalogue and engaging public programme.


Highlights include:
  • The Biblical Papyri, dating from the second to the fourth century AD, include the earliest known copies of the four gospels and Acts of the Apostles, the Letters of St Paul, and the Book of Revelation.
  • Japanese painted scrolls from the 17th and 18th century, & woodblock prints by Hiroshige and Hokusai
  • The largest collection of jade books from the Imperial Court outside China
  • 260 complete and fragmentary Qur’ans, some dating from the late eighth and ninth centuries
  • Late opening on Wednesdays until 20:00 (last admission 19:00)
  • Chester Beatty Digital Museum Guide, an interactive mobile app FREE to download for Apple and Android offers audio tours of the collections and galleries, virtual 3D walkthroughs and a programme of events and activities
  • Digital collection online (phase 1), see https://chesterbeatty.ie/explore for further details 

Visitor Information

Opening Hours

Monday & Tuesday, Thursday - Saturday 9:45 - 17:30
Wednesday 9:45 – 20:00
Sunday 12:00 – 17:30


Contact Details

Chester Beatty
Dublin Castle, Dublin 2 
T: + 353 (0)1 407 0750
W: www.chesterbeatty.ie

Closed: Closed Mondays Nov-Feb, Good Friday, 24, 25, 26 Dec & 1 Jan.

Last admission: No last admission but 16:30 (19:00 on Wednesdays) recommended ensuring visitors fully enjoy their visit.

Approx. visit duration: 60 to 120 minutes, allow time for a browse in Shop and refreshments in Silk Road Café

Admission Prices

Admission is Free


Book Online

Other Useful Information


Chester Beatty has just launched the first phase of its new ‘Digital Museum Guide’ an interactive mobile app FREE to download for Apple and Android. This new app offers audio tours of their collections and galleries, virtual 3D walkthroughs of the museum, online browsing of their world-renowned treasures, and a news section to highlight their extensive programme of events and activities. Available in English but additional European and World languages will be added in early 2020.


Free public tours in Arabic, Mandarin and Japanese are scheduled on a regular basis.  Check here for details: https://chesterbeatty.ie/whats-on/


Silk Road Café on-site. The café’s menu is based on Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisine, reflecting some of the countries represented in the museum's collections. Middle Eastern, North African, Mediterranean, vegetarian and celiac friendly dishes are created by the chefs, with a focus on home cooking using only the freshest ingredients. The café also caters for conference delegates and all evening receptions.


Searching for that unique gift, souvenir or just want to treat yourself? Handpicked from around the world and from Ireland, they stock an eclectic mix of art prints and books, exhibition catalogues, jewellery, homeware, and Irish crafts - some reflecting the global reach of their world-renowned collections and others just because they think they are gorgeous! Why not pop in for a browse during your visit? Your purchase supports the museum's cultural programmes and exhibitions and all major credit cards including American Express and UnionPay are accepted.


Free wifi is available throughout Chester Beatty


No parking on site (with exceptions – see below)
If you are coming by car and you have a Disabled Person's Parking Permit or Card, you will be permitted access to the grounds of the Castle, via the Ship Street entrance.
Some paid street parking on Ship St, nearest carpark is Christchurch car park on Werburgh St.
Link here: https://bookings.parkrite.ie/CarPark/ListDetails/6 


Chester Beatty is a wheelchair and buggy-friendly building and with their audio-visual presentations and automated doors to all public areas, access to the collection is facilitated. Many of the most important exhibitions are placed at a comparatively low height to facilitate viewing by those visitors who are wheelchair-bound. Wheelchairs are available free of charge.


While most visitors self-guide through our exhibits, some may wish to experience a guided tour. Free public guided tours take place every Wednesday at 13:00, Saturdays at 14:00 and Sundays at 15:00. Suitable for individual visitors, families and small groups (under 5 participants), these informal tours provide a general introduction to Chester Beatty’s exhibitions. Tours last for approx. 1 hour are free of charge and delivered on a first served basis, limited to 20 participants. For Group bookings, please visit https://cbl.ticketsolve.com/shows/1173588160/events/428201602 giving a minimum of three weeks advance notice.


  • European Museum of the Year 2002
  • TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence 2018
  • TripAdvisor Hall of Fame 2017 (granted to entities who earn a Certificate of Excellence in 5 subsequent years)
  • 2017 Experts' Choice Award from TripExpert (reflects the views of journalists and professional travel writers, & bestowed on less than 2% of all attractions worldwide.



Meetings & Events  

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Map Location

The Chester Beatty is situated in the gardens of Dublin Castle in the heart of the city centre.

 Chester Beatty    Nearby Attractions

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