What is the Chester Beatty collection that has been given to Ireland?

The Chester Beatty Library is formally handed over to the Irish nation. In monetary terms Sir Alfred Chester Beatty’s collection of books, manuscripts, paintings, oriental ceramics and other art treasures is conservatively valued at £6 million. This unique collection of books and manuscripts from all over the world illustrates 4,500 years of civilisation.

At a brief ceremony held in the Library at Shrewsbury Road in Dublin, the executors of Sir Alfred’s formally handed over the collection to the Library Trustees, thereby completing the Beatty bequest to the Irish nation.

At the ceremony the chairman of the Library Trustees Dr Richard Hayes says,

These collections place Ireland in the forefront of oriental scholarship and in the coming years every country from the East, the Far East and the West will send its scholars to Ireland to study the rarities now entrusted to our care.

The trustees, personally appointed by Sir Alfred, are now responsible for the library and its holdings and ensuring they are administered for the benefit and enjoyment of the Irish people.

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 9 September 1968. The reporter is Don McManus.