Places to visit in Europe

Dublin

 

Dublin is the capital and largest city in the Republic of Ireland. It forms a county that stretches over 117 sq. km (45 sq. mi). The population of Dublin is approx; 1 million inhabitants.

DUBLIN was founded by the Vikings in the 9th century, when they sailed up the River Liffey in their longships, intent on looting and colonising. They built a port on the river where its estuary, the Poddle, joined it, forming the black pool or dubh Linn which gave the city its name. In the 12th century, the Anglo-Norman knights wrested Dublin from its Viking Rulers and laid the foundations for a thriving Medieval city. Vestiges of its thick walls, towers and gates can still be seen today. Two great cathedrals were built during this period; St. Patrick’s, whose Dean from 1713 to 1745 was Jonathan Swift, author of 'Gulliver's Travels', and Christ Church. Dublin Castle, also dating from this time, has been rebuilt as a Georgian Palace. Over the following centuries, Dublin evolved into an important city welcoming Dutch, Huguenot, English and Jewish immigrants, all of whom contributed greatly to its growth. Towards the end of the 17th century, thanks to the vision of a viceroy, the Duke of Ormond, a new and beautiful city started to rise near the sea and away from the old town. Vast areas of land were reclaimed from the Liffey. This period saw the building of the Royal Hospital, the enclosing of the Phoenix Park (1760 acres, the largest urban park in Europe), the wide streets, and impressive public buildings such as the present Bank of Ireland (originally the Parliament building), the Custom House, the Four Courts, City Hall, Leinster House (built as a private residence, and now the seat of the Irish Parliament), and the facade of Trinity College, founded in 1592. After the 1801 Act of Union, when Ireland's parliament was transferred to Westminster, the character of the city changed. Ireland was going through many upheavals, including the Great Famine of 1845-1849, and Dublin had its share of these too, but beautiful buildings continued to be built, including the National Museum, the National Art Gallery, the Natural History Museum, the National Library and the General Post Office in O'Connell Street, which was to be the headquarters of the 1916 rising and where the Proclamation of Independence (of the Republic) can be read. The Easter Rising led to six years of struggle for independence. Ireland became an independent state in 1922 and a Republic in 1947. Today, Dublin is a vibrant modern city, birthplace of many world-famous writers, including James Joyce (1882-1941) who immortalised the city of Dublin in his masterpiece, Ulysses, the poet, W.B. Yeats, and playwrights Brendan Behan and Sean O’Casey.

DUBLIN TRAIL GUIDES
Dublin Tourism has developed a number of very interesting trail guides which offer an interactive way of discovering the city of Dublin.

Dublin is the capital and largest city in the Republic of Ireland. It forms a county that stretches over 117 sq. km (45 sq. mi). The population of Dublin is approx; 1 million inhabitants. Dublin city is located at the mouth of the River Liffey, on Dublin Bay, an inlet of the Irish Sea and is linked by ship services to Cork, Ireland; Belfast, Northern Ireland; and various ports in England, Scotland, and France. There are also several railroads that provide connections with important points in Ireland. The city of Dublin occupies a generally flat site and is bisected in an eastern and western direction by the River Liffey and overlooked on the south by the Wicklow mountains. The River Liffey is spanned by ten bridges, the main bridge being O'Connell's Bridge, which links the main streets of the city.

Apart from its southwestern portion, where the streets are narrow and crooked, Dublin is a well planned city, with broad avenues and spacious squares. These areas are numerous in the southeastern and northeastern quarters, which also contain many stately old mansions. Circular Drive, a boulevard about 14 km (about 9 mi) long, extends along what was the periphery of the city at the end of the 19th century. Since then, the city limits have been considerably extended. The port area, confined to the lower reaches of the Liffey, has quays and basins open to larger vessels. Two canals, the Royal (154 km/96 mi) and the Grand (335 km/208 mi), provide connections between the port area and the northern and southern branches of the River Shannon. Dublin contains several notable suburbs, including Rathmines and Rathgar, where the homes of many wealthy businesspeople of Dublin are located; and Glasnevin, where Joseph Addison, Jonathan Swift, Richard Brinsley Sheridan, and other well-known personalities once resided. In the cemetery of Glasnevin lie the remains of the Irish patriots Daniel O'Connell and John Philpot Curran. Points of Interest Many of Dublin's historic edifices are in the old section of the city, south of the Liffey. Dublin Castle, the nucleus around which the modern town developed, formerly housed the offices of the British viceroy of Ireland. Most of this structure, which occupies a ridge overlooking the river, was completed in the 16th century and later, but parts of it date from early in the 13th century. In the vicinity of the castle is the Protestant cathedral of Christ Church, founded in 1038 and rebuilt from 1870 to 1877 according to the original design. Saint Patrick's Cathedral, a Gothic structure not far from Christ Church, is the largest of the many churches in Dublin and the center of the Protestant faith in the country. Sometimes called the Westminster of Ireland, the cathedral was founded in 1190 and rebuilt between 1220 and 1260. The remains of Jonathan Swift, once dean of St. Patrick's, are interred in the cathedral.

The University of Dublin and the Bank of Ireland building are in the old section of Dublin. Among other public buildings of the city are the Customs House, an 18th-century structure; the Four Courts, seat of the high courts of Ireland; and Leinster House, seat of Dáil Éireann, the lower house of the bicameral national Parliament. Dublin also has a number of notable statues commemorating such famous Irish citizens as Daniel O'Connell, the statesman and orator Edmund Burke, and the writer Oliver Goldsmith. Educational institutions in Dublin include the University of Dublin (Trinity College) and University College, a campus of the National University of Ireland. Among the excellent libraries of the city are the library of the University of Dublin, the Royal Dublin Society Library, and the National Library. Other cultural centers include the National Museum, which contains numerous Irish antiquities; the National Gallery, with valuable collections of painting and sculpture; and the Abbey Theatre. The principal unit of the Dublin park system is Phoenix Park, in the western environs of the city. About 11 km (about 7 mi) in circumference, the site of this park encompasses part of the Liffey River valley. Besides recreational facilities, Phoenix Park contains zoological gardens, several conservatories, an arboretum, and the residence of the president of the republic.

Commerce and Industry Predominantly a commercial city, Dublin is also the principal port and trading center of Ireland. Chief industrial establishments include breweries, distilleries, and plants producing electrical and electronic equipment, footwear, glass, pharmaceuticals, and processed foods. Some shipbuilding is carried on, and a number of foundries and automobile assembly plants are located here. Livestock, agricultural products, and local industrial manufactures constitute the principal exports. History The first known settlement on the site of Dublin was called Eblana, a name found in the writings of the 2nd-century Alexandrian geographer Ptolemy. The town later appears in history as Dubh-linn (Gaelic, "Black Pool"), the inhabitants of which won (AD 291) a military victory over the armed forces of the kingdom of Leinster. Baile Átha Cliath, the present official name, is believed to have been applied to the settlement at a subsequent date. Dublin has often figured prominently in Irish history. Its inhabitants were converted to Christianity about 450 by Patrick, later the patron saint of Ireland. The town was captured in the 9th century by the Danes. The rebellious Irish wrested control of Dublin from the Danes on a number of occasions during the next three centuries, notably in 1052, 1075, and 1124. In 1171 the Danes were expelled by the Anglo-Normans, led by Henry II, king of England. He held his court in Dublin in 1172 and later made the town a dependency of the English city of Bristol. English overlordship in Dublin remained unchallenged until 1534, when the Irish patriot Thomas Fitzgerald laid brief siege to the city in the course of a rebellion. In the 17th century, during the English civil wars known as the Great Rebellion, Dublin was surrendered to English parliamentary forces to prevent the city from falling to the Irish. Dublin remained under British control until the Irish insurrection of 1798, during which an attempt to seize the city ended in failure. A second attempt in 1803, led by Robert Emmet, also ended disastrously. Further abortive insurrections occurred in Dublin in 1847 and in 1867.

Dublin was the scene of some of the most severe fighting of the Irish rebellion of 1916 and of the revolution of 1919-21, which resulted in the establishment of the Irish Free State. New site Tucked away to the west of mainland Europe, Dublin is probably one of the world's best kept secrets. Being less easily accessible than other capital cities in Europe has proven to be a distinct advantage, as it has allowed Dublin retain its unique village atmosphere. Dublin is a city of contrasts and contradictions! Medieval and Georgian architecture provide a stern backdrop to the bustling and lively streets filled with street entertainers of all kinds. The aroma of freshly brewed coffee mingles with the distinct smell of hops from the nearby Guinness brewery drawing visitors indoors. Street-side cafes and pubs are always buzzing with animated conversations and visitors may soon be engrossed in topics as diverse as sport, politics and literature or the old favourite - the weather. It is interesting to note that it was in many of these same cafes and pubs that the literary giants such as Joyce, Kavanagh and O'Casey discussed the topics of the day over a thick creamy pint of Guinness. In 1988 Dublin celebrated its 1000th birthday and was designated European city of culture in 1991. Many visitor attractions throughout the city pay tribute to its fascinating history. There are a variety of museums, art galleries and visitor attractions to suit every taste and age-group. If the hustle and bustle of the city proves too much you can always take a trip along Dublin picturesque coastline or explore the nearby Dublin mountains. When it comes to entertainment, Dubliners with their naturally friendly and fun-craving attitude, certainly know how to entertain. The quintessential 'Dublin Pub' provides the focal point of Dublin social life, illuminating the vibrant hues of Dubliners and their culture. It is a place where conversations and "Craic" (which is the Irish for fun) flow freely, unleashing the unique atmosphere that is at the heart of Dublin and its friendly people.

There is also a wonderful array of dance, theatre and concerts from the most exquisite formal presentations of the National Concert Hall to the jovial street performer. Every exhibition is performed with a distinctly Irish sense of enthusiasm and conviction that delights and enthrals every audience. Music and song play a large part in the artistic make-up of Dubliners. The city provides a showcase for all facets of such talent, from which traditional Irish folk musicians such as The Dubliners, The Chieftains and contemporary artists like U2, Chris de Burgh, Boyzone and Sinead O'Connor have found inspiration and international popularity. Music, whether it be classical, traditional or contemporary, is very accessible in Dublin, often experienced with its natural accompaniment - dance. Visitors may try their hand at traditional set dancing or dance the night away at one of the numerous trendy nightclubs that illuminate Dublin's night sky and carry the beat of the city well in to the morning hours.   Internationally renowned artists regularly adorn the city with an abundance of first class performances as varied as the Bolshoi Ballet to the staging of rock concerts. Comedy and cabaret also features strongly in the entertainment line up and can be sampled at a multitude of impressive venues in the city.