In-Focus Audio Tours

Recorded by Volunteer Guides and the Curators of the Chester Beatty, these mini audio tours focus on a particular theme. Each tour is illustrated by images from the museum’s collection, allowing our visitors access to these world-class masterpieces from their homes.

Image of a school tour as part of the Chester Beatty Schools Programme

Night at the museum: Goya in the dark

In-Focus Audio Tour with Dr Jill Unkel

Is it a fantasy or a nightmare? Who are these athletic figures with strange bird-like helmets and large artificial wings from Goya’s Disparates (Follies) print series?

Listen to Audio Tour Here

Night at the Museum: Fireworks over Ryōgoku Bridge

In-Focus Audio Tour with Dr Mary Redfern

An explosion of colour floods the night sky. Join the crowds in Edo, modern Tokyo, for a summertime spectacle of light and sound.

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Night at the Museum: Gulistan as Gaeilge

In-Focus Audio Tour with Dr Moya Carey, Sabhbh Ní Mhaolagáin and Dara O. Shayda

“With nightingales singing from the trees, we spent the night in a friend’s garden…” Listen to the Rose Garden (Gulistan) by the poet Sa`di, in Persian and now for the first time, in Irish.

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Turas fuaime ‘In-Focus’ le Dr Moya Carey, Sabhbh Ní Mhaolagáin agus Dara O. Shayda

Lena filiméala ag canadh ó na crainn, chaitheamar an oíche i ngairdín cara… éist leis an Gairdín Rós (Gulistan) leis an bhfile Sa`di, sa Pheirsis agus anois den chéad uair, i nGaeilge.

Listen to Audio Tour Here / Éist leis an Turas Fuaime Anseo

Heroic Encounters with the Supernatural in Japanese Tales

In-Focus Audio Tour with Dr Diana Delia

The Chester Beatty collections include some beautifully illustrated Japanese story books and scrolls produced during the Edo period (c.1603-1868). Listen to Guide Diana Delia as she relates the tales of Tawara Tōda, Ōeyama, and Miraiki and their heroes Hidesato, Raikō, and Yoshitsune.

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Wrestling in Herat: the prince and the painter

In-Focus Audio Tour with Dr Moya Carey

Join Curator of Islamic Collections, Dr Moya Carey, as she focuses in on one area in Chester Beatty’s vast collection.

When Timurid prince Baysunghur of Herat ordered a new copy of Sa`di’s immortal Gulistan, his team of painters and calligraphers produced a highly accomplished manuscript. Contemporary reports tell us exactly who in the royal studio (kitab-khane) worked on the book in 1427. One anecdote draws a parallel between Sa`di’s classic text and prince Baysunghur’s apparently boisterous social life.

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Septuagint and the Story of Joseph

In-Focus Audio Tour with Dr Diana Delia

Septuagint is the earliest translation of the Old Testament from the Hebrew into Koine Greek. It was most likely translated for the Jewish community in Egypt in the 3rd century BC, when Greek was the lingua franca throughout the region.

The Chester Beatty collection includes some of the oldest surviving Greek copies of the Book of Genesis, dated to 3rd and 4th century.

Listen our Guide Diana Delia, as she relates the story of Joseph and his brothers as described in the Septuagint.

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Samaritan Manuscript Production

In-Focus Audio Tour with Julia Poirier

Manuscripts and bindings made by the Samaritan community in Palestine and the diaspora from Egypt and Syria between the 12th and the 16th centuries, represent a little-known bookmaking tradition, which is related to but independent from other Mediterranean manuscript traditions.

This audio tour is presented by Julia Poirier, Book and Paper Conservator at the Chester Beatty.

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Sefer Torah: An Introduction

In-Focus Audio Tour with Dr Diana Delia

The Torah, also known as Five Books of Moses or Pentateuch, is the central book of Judaism. Listen to our Guide, Diana Delia, and discover the history, the use and the customs associated with this Holy Book.

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Spinning Success: The Kangxi Emperor’s Silk-making Album

In-Focus Audio Tour with Laura Muldowney

The collections of the Chester Beatty include a pair of albums commissioned by the Kangxi Emperor in 1696 that detail the processes involved in the production of silk and the cultivation of rice.

Complemented by the emperor’s poems, the illustrations in this volume introduce the various stages in the creation of this marvellous material.

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First Impressions: The Importance of a Binding

In-Focus Audio Tour with Mary O’Riordan

Discover the stories behind book bindings; from form to function as well as beauty and embellishment over the centuries. Materials and styles varied greatly in different cultures, and the patrons whose books they were made for played an important role.

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Star-Crossed Lovers Reunited: Celebrating Tanabata Festival

In-Focus Audio Tour with Dr Mary Redfern

Celebrated in Japan on 7 July, the Tanabata Festival marks the annual reunion of the weaver princess Orihime, and her herdboy love, Hikoboshi.

This short talk introduces the history of Tanabata and the Chinese origins of this interstellar romance across the Milky Way.

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Love (for Books) and Marriage: Prigent de Coëtivy’s wedding gift to himself

In-Focus Audio Tour with Dr Jill Unkel

The Coëtivy Hours is a masterpiece of 15th-century illumination. It was produced in Paris for Prigent de Coëtivy (1399?–1450), noted bibliophile and Admiral of France, to celebrate his marriage to Marie de Rais (1429–1457).

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An Umayyad Qur’an

In-Focus Audio Tour with Kristine Rose-Beers ACR

The conservation of Chester Beatty manuscript CBL Is 1404, an early eighth-century Qur’an on parchment, has served as the catalyst for significant investigation of both early Islamic manuscript materials, and the most suitable contemporary conservation techniques for this manuscript.

Head of Conservation, Kristine Rose-Beers, introduces the history and conservation of this manuscript.

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Egyptian Love Poems

In-Focus Audio Tour with Diana Delia

The Chester Beatty holds the world-famous Egyptian Love Poems (c.1160 BC), purchased by Sir Alfred Chester Beatty in 1928 together with other literary texts from the ‘Theban find’. This large scroll gives a glimpse into secular writing of ancient Egyptians, including the love poetry – one of only a few examples to have survived until today.

Diana Delia, Volunteer Guide, introduces this artistic genre and reads the poems.

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Albrecht Dürer: Stories carved in wood

In-Focus Audio Tour with Orla Ryan

Among the great treasures of the Chester Beatty is a collection of over 130 woodcuts and engravings by the German artist Albrecht Dürer (1471-1528).

Join our guide Orla Ryan and discover the world of this brilliant Renaissance artist as well as the stories behind some of his woodcuts.

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The Mystery of Mani

In-Focus Audio Tour

In 1929, seven papyrus books from the lost Manichaean religion were discovered in Egypt. Dated to c. 400 AD, these unique texts proved critical in deepening understanding of this once thriving, yet effectively suppressed faith.

This audio tour was recorded as part of our exhibition Mystery of Mani, 21 June 2019 – 19 January 2020

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Dürer: A Northern Renaissance Master

In-Focus Audio Tour with Orla Ryan

Among the great treasures of the Chester Beatty is a collection of over 130 woodcuts and engravings by the great German artist Albrecht Dürer (1471-1528).

Join our guide Orla Ryan, to discover the world of this brilliant Renaissance Master and stories behind some of his engravings.

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Shahnama: The Book of Kings

In-Focus Audio Tour with Joan Barnewell

The Chester Beatty holds many copies of one of the great classics of world literature – the Shahnama, or the Book of Kings. It tells the glorious and sometimes fantastical tales of the heroes and kings of Iran.

This is a short introduction to three of the beautiful paintings from the Shahnama which belonged to Shah Abbas I, the 16th century ruler of Iran.

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Fashion Prints: Costumes Parisiens 1912-14

In-Focus Audio Tour with Joan Barnewell

The Chester Beatty holds many fashion and costume plates, including those published in Journal des Dames et des Modes (1912-1914).

Listen to our guide Joan Barnewell as she describes some of the vividly coloured fashion illustrations while introducing the designers and artists behind them.

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Buddha's Birthday and Vesak Festival

In-Focus Audio Tour with Laura Muldowney

On 7 May 2020, many Buddhists around the world will observe the Vesak Festival or Buddha Day.

Here, Laura Muldowney, curator of our recent Thai Buddhist Tales exhibition, introduces the festival with reference to our beautiful Thai manuscripts.

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Siam Through the Lens of John Thomson, 1865–66

In-Focus Audio Tour with Jo O’Rourke

This exhibition gives us a glimpse into some characteristics of people and places of Siam in the 1860s. We are guided through a wonderful collection of images taken with great sensitivity by one of the pioneers of photojournalism, John Thomson (1837-1921).

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Miniature Masterpieces: Chinese Snuff Bottles

In-Focus Audio Tour with Joan Barnewell

The Chester Beatty has a wonderful collection of over 900 snuff bottles. This is a short introduction to some of these beautiful miniature masterpieces, and an opportunity to view some of the amazing details close-up.

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Closed today

Monday to Friday 9:45am - 5:30pm
Wednesday 9:45am - 8:00pm
Saturday 9:45am - 5:30pm
Sunday 12:00pm - 5:30pm


Closed Mondays: Nov - Feb
Closed 1 Jan; Good Friday; 24-26 Dec


Admission is Free
Suggested donation €5

Map

Chester Beatty
Dublin Castle
Dublin 2
D02 AD92