Travel Guide to
Muslim Europe With travel writer and European Muslim heritage specialist Tharik Hussain
The Greatest Islamic Library nobody
here are many reasons people come to Dublin - admiring beautifully decorated ancient Qur’ans is not one of them. Unbeknown to the vast majority of Muslims around the globe - even those living in Dublin - Ireland’s capital city is home to quite possibly the finest collection of Islamic manuscripts in the western hemisphere, if not the world. “What? … Inside Dublin Castle there are ancient Qur’ans and Islamic manuscripts?” Muhammad, a part-time employee at the Dublin Mosque, run by the Islamic Foundation of Ireland, seems uncertain about what I have just told him. He has spent the last hour showing me around the quaint 19th century Donore Presbyterian Church building - now his local mosque detailing the building’s history and architectural merits. He also showed me their new extension, which integrates a wall of the former Donore school - dating from 1891 now the mosque’s new education facility. “Inside there are classrooms for teaching Arabic, Qur’an and English,” he proudly stated, pointing out the building is also home to the mosque’s library. That was when I mentioned my visit to Dublin Castle’s Chester Beatty Library, catching him off guard. Muhammad confessed he knew nothing about the Islamic literary gem that sat a mere 25 minutes’ walk from where we stood.