Ireland's first honorary citizen is laid to rest in Glasnevin cemetery following a service at Saint Patrick's Cathedral.

Sir Alfred Chester Beatty, Ireland's first honorary citizen, died on 19 January 1968.  Born in New York in 1875, the mining magnate and philanthropist bequeathed his priceless collection of rare Oriental and Middle Eastern books, scrolls, papyri, manuscripts, prints and paintings to the Irish nation.  

In the winter sunshine, the nation’s dignitaries, including President Eamon De Valera and Taoiseach Jack Lynch, arrive for the State funeral service at St Patrick's Cathedral. They were welcomed by the Dean of Saint Patrick’s John Ward Armstrong.  Dubliners in a sombre mood line the footpaths surrounding the cathedral.

The panegyric was given by the Most Reverend Doctor George Simms, Archbishop of Dublin, who described Alfred Chester Beatty as 

One of the world’s most romantic characters.

A special guard salutes as the remains are brought from the cathedral.  The Army No. 1 Band lead the cortege through the city streets, and a motorcycle escort accompanies it to Glasnevin cemetery.

The graveside service is conducted by the Dean of Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, and the Archbishop of Dublin.  Members of the Beatty family present include Chester Beatty, Sir Alfred’s son.  

The last tribute to the man who has bestowed so much on Ireland.  Now he himself belongs to the nation.


The Chester Beatty Library, Shrewsbury Road, Dublin (1978) 

Sir Alfred Chester Beatty, Ireland's first honorary citizen, died on 19 January 1968 aged 92.  Born in New York in 1875, the mining magnate and philanthropist bequeathed his priceless collection of rare oriental and Middle Eastern books, scrolls, papyri, manuscripts, prints and paintings to the Irish nation.  

During his lifetime, Beatty built a library on Shrewsbury Road in Dublin to house his collection.  

In 2000 the collection moved to a purpose-built library in Dublin Castle, in order to facilitate scholars and researchers, and to continue to protect, conserve and make available the items in the collection to the public.  

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 29 January 1968.  The reporter is Seán Duignan.