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Dublin (Irish: Baile Átha Cliath, "Town of the Hurdled Ford") is the capital city of Ireland. Its vibrancy, nightlife and tourist attractions are world renowned and it's the most popular entry point for international visitors to Ireland.
As a city, it is disproportionately large for the size of the country with a population of 1.8 million in the Greater Dublin Region (2011); nearly half of the Republic's population lives in this metropolitan area. The centre is, however, relatively small and can be navigated by foot, with most of the population living in sprawling suburbs.
Founded in 841, Dublin was originally settled by Vikings among a population of Celtic tribes. In the 9th century the Danes captured Dublin and had control until 1171 when they were expelled by King Henry II of England. By the 14th century the king of England controlled Dublin and the surrounding area referred to as “the Pale”.
When the English Civil War ended in 1649, Oliver Cromwell took over. Dublin experienced huge growth and development in the 17th century because many Protestant refugees from Europe came to Dublin. By the 17th century Dublin was the second largest city in the British Isles, only behind London, and a period when great Georgian style buildings were constructed that still stand today. Georgian style architecture was popular from 1720 to 1840 during the times when George I, George II, George III, and George IV of England were ruling.
In 1800, the Act of Union between England and Ireland abolished the Irish Parliament. From this point on, the Irish worked to gain their independence from England, which they finally won in 1922. The Easter rising in 1916 and the War of Independence greatly helped Ireland win their freedom.
A failed attempt to take over the several important buildings, among them the General Post Office on O'Connell Street, led to the arrest of hundreds and execution of 15, now considered martyrs for the cause. Many believe that this event helped gain sympathy for the fight for independence from Britain.
Dublin is divided by the River Liffey. On the north side of the Liffey is O'Connell Street—the main thoroughfare, which is intersected by numerous shopping streets, including Henry Street and Talbot Street. On the south side are St. Stephen's Green, Grafton Street, Trinity College, Christ Church, St. Patrick's Cathedrals, and many other attractions.
Dublin postal districts range from Dublin 1 to Dublin 24. As a rule, odd numbers are given to areas north of the River Liffey, while even numbers are given to areas south of the river (exceptions are Dublin 8 and 20 which span both sides of Liffey). Usually, the lower the district number, the closer to the city centre.
Although some of Dublin's finest Georgian architecture was demolished in the mid-20th century, a remarkable amount remains. At one point they were considered a reminder of the past British imperialism and many were demolished without regard to their beauty and architectural significance and replaced with modernist or pastiche office blocks, St. Stephen's Green (Dublin 2) being a prime example. Thankfully, attitudes have changed significantly, and Dubliners are now rightly proud of their impressive buildings from all eras.
In the summer peak season, Dublin's top attractions can get packed. Show up early to beat the crowds.
Visit Dublin, the local tourism board, has released a city sightseeing card called Dublin Pass which grants holders free and fast track entry to 33 attractions, museums and monuments in Dublin. It also includes airport transfer.
- ⊙Chester Beatty Library, Dublin Castle, Dublin 2 (In the gardens of Dublin Castle), ☎ +353 14 070750. Sa 11:00-17:00, Su 13:00-17:00, M-F 10:00-17:00 (Closed on M from Oct-Apr). Contains a wide selection of early books and manuscripts, including sacred texts and manuscripts. European Museum of the Year 2002. Free entrance.
- ⊙Christ Church Cathedral, Christ Church Pl, Dublin 2, ☎ +353 16 778099. Jun-Aug daily 09:00-18:00, Sep-May 09:45-17:00 or 18:00. Dating back to the 11th century, is the oldest building in Dublin, though it underwent a massive restoration in the 19th century. Particularly interesting is the crypt, which pre-dates the cathedral. €6, students €4, children with parent free.
- ⊙Dublin Castle, 2 Palace St, Dublin 2, ☎ +353 16 777129. M-Sa 10:00-16:45, Su & Bank Holidays 14:00-16:45. Closed 24-28 & 31 Dec, 1 Jan and Good Friday. Former seat of British rule in Ireland. Guided Tour Prices €4.50, students €3.50, children €2, alternative Tour of Chapel Royal & Undercroft €3.50.
- ⊙Dublin Zoo, Welington/Zoo Rd, Dublin 8, ☎ +353 14 748900. Winter: M-Sa 09:30-16:00, summer: M-Sa 09:30-18:30. Located in Phoenix Park and dating to 1830, the Dublin Zoo is the largest in Ireland, and notable for its role in wildlife conservation efforts. €15, students €12.50, Senior Citizens €12, children €10.50, family from €43.50 for 4 to €52 for 6.
- ⊙General Post Office (GPO), O'Connell St Lower, Dublin 1 (All transport to Dublin City Centre), ☎ +353 17 057000. The General Post Office (GPO) is one of Ireland's most iconic buildings. For almost 200 years it has been the headquarters of the Post Office in Ireland. It was designed by Francis Johnston in Neo Classical style and took four years to build from 1814-1818. In 1916 it was taken over by Irish Rebels led by P.H. Pearse, who read the Proclamation of the Republic outside the front door of the building. During the Easter Rising, The interior was completely destroyed. Amazingly, the beautiful exterior managed to survive the shelling from General Maxwell's forces and fires caused. In 1925 it was decided by the Irish Government that the building be restored and it reopen in 1929. The GPO is still a working post office and is home to: Free entrance.
- An Post Museum, GPO, O'Connell St Lower, ☎ +353 17 057000. M-F 10:00-17:00, Sa 10:00-16:00. Offers a unique and engaging insight into the history of one of the Irish Post Office, with displays on stamps, mail boats, the role of GPO staff on Easter Monday 1916 and an original copy of The Proclamation. The audio visuals and interactive displays allow visitors to choose subjects of particular interest as they explore aspects of the Irish Post Office story. €2.
- ⊙Glasnevin Cemetery, Finglas Rd, Dublin 11 (Buses 9, 13 or 40 from O'Connell St or 40a/40d from Parnell Street. Adjacent to the Botanic Gardens), ☎ +353 18 301133. Tours at 14:30: Mar-Sep Daily, Oct-Feb W & F. Situated just two miles from the city centre, Glasnevin Cemetery is currently running a series of walking tours. These tours give a valuable insight into the final resting place of the men and women who have helped shape Ireland's past and present. The walking tour last one and a half hours and visits the graves of Daniel O'Connell, Charles Stewart Parnell, Michael Collins, Eamonn De Valera and many other graves of architectural and cultural interest. €5, U12 go free.
- ⊙Kilmainham Gaol, Inchicore Rd, Kilmainham, Dublin 8, ☎ +353 14 535984. Apr-Sep 09:30-18:00 daily (last admission 17:00); Oct-Mar M-Sa 09:30-17:30 (last admission 16:00), Su 10:00-18:00 (last admission 17:00). The prison where the rebels from the 1916 Easter Rising were executed. It is located slightly outside the city centre and can be reached by local bus (40, 79). Access is limited to guided tours, which leave every 30 minutes and are very interesting. It is well worth a visit if you are in any way interested in history. €6, senior and groups €4, children and students €2, family €14.
- ⊙Merrion Square. Merrion Square is one of the largest squares in Dublin. It is filled with very green (of course) grassy areas and has three Georgian style houses. There is a large statue of the writer and dramatist ⊙Oscar Wilde. There are also two square marble columns that are covered in famous Wilde quotes. Merrion Square is a good place to escape some of the noise of Dublin and enjoy Oscar Wilde’s witty sense of humor.
- ⊙Old Library at Trinity College & Book of Kells, College Green, Dublin 2 (Most bus routes, including tour buses, stop in the area of College Green/Trinity College), ☎ +353 18 962320. May-Sep: Mon-Sat 08:30-17:00, Sun 09:30-17:00. Oct-Apr: Mon-Sat 09:30-17:00, Sun 12:00-16:30. Last admission 30 min before closing. The gorgeously illustrated original manuscript of the Book of Kells is the main draw here, but the massive Long Hall of the Old library itself is equally if not even more impressive. Adults €13 (€10 online off-peak), students & seniors €10, family €26, under 12 years free. Audio guides €5. (updated Sep 2017)
- ⊙Samuel Beckett Bridge. Designed by Santiago Calatrava. It his second bridge in Dublin, the first one being the James Joyce Bridge. The bridge can rotate sideways by 90 degrees to let ships pass by. It connects the Docklands area around the Convention Centre with the Grand Canal Square area.
- ⊙The Spire of Dublin (Monument of Light), At the intersection of O'Connell St and Henry St. A 121m tall pin-like structure in the middle of O'Connell Street erected in 2003.
- ⊙Waterways Ireland Visitors Centre, Grand Canal Quay, Dublin 2 (10 minutes on foot from O’Connell St. Bus numbers 1, 50, 77A, 151 stop close to the main entrance. By DART at Grand Canal station and by Luas at Spencer Dock across the Liffey), ☎ +353 16 777510. Mon-Fri 10:00-18:00, Sat-Sun: closed. Housed in an award winning architectural structure affectionately known as the box in docks situated in the waters of Grand Canal Dock. Informative displays on the waterways from the pre Christian period to its modern use, with child friendly interactives and environmental displays. €8, children €4, students/seniors €4.
- ⊙Famine Memorial, Custom House Quay (between Matt Talbet Memorial Bridge & Sean Casey Bridge). Five life-size statues depicting Irish victims of the Great Famine during the mid 19th century. Free. (updated Jul 2015)
- ⊙Georgian buildings, Mount Street Upper near Fitzwilliam Street Lower (Near the south-east corner of Merrion Square). A street lined with residential buildings in the Georgian architectural style with St. Stephen's Church at the end of the street. Free. (updated Jul 2015)
- ⊙Number Twenty Nine (Georgian House Museum), 29 Fitzwilliam Street Lower (Near south-east corner of Merrion Square). Tue-Sat 10:00-17:00. Georgian townhouse museum recreates the lifestyle of a historic middle-class family. Currently CLOSED due to renovation nearby (April 2017). €6 adult, €3 senior/student, children 12 & under free. (updated Jul 2015)
- ⊙Molly Malone statue, Suffolk Street & St. Andrew's Street (temporarily placed outside the Dublin Tourist Office until late 2017). Molly Malone in seventeenth-century dress famed for crying cockles and mussels in Dublin's fair city. (updated Jul 2015)
- ⊙James Joyce Statue, 2 Earl St N. (updated Jul 2015)
Parks and gardens
- ⊙National Botanic Gardens, Glasnevin, Dublin 9, ☎ +353 18 040300. Nov-Jan 09:00-16:30 and Feb-Oct 09:00-18:00 daily. Free entrance.
- ⊙Phoenix Park, Phoenix Park, Dublin 8 (10-15 minute walk to park entrance from Heuston station stop on Luas Red line, alternatively buses 25/26/66/67 stop on Parkgate St, a 5 minute walk from the entrance), ☎ +353 16 770095. The largest enclosed urban park in Europe. Includes a polo field and Dublin Zoo. The residences of the President of Ireland and the U.S. Ambassador are situated in the park, but are not open to the public. If you're lucky, you may catch a glimpse of the herd of wild fallow deer that inhabit the park! Free.
- ⊙St Stephens Green, Dublin 2 (At the southern end of Grafton St.). A Victorian-style public park right at the southern end of Grafton Street. Recommended to see is the nearby Fusiliers' Arch, a granite arch constructed in 1907 that was dedicated to Royal Dublin Fusiliers who fought and died in the Second Boer War (1899-1902). (updated May 2015)
Museums and galleries
- ⊙Dublin City Gallery - The Hugh Lane, Charlemont House, Parnell Square North, Dublin 1, ☎ +353 12 225550. Tue-Thu 10:00-18:00, Fri-Sat 10:00-17:00, Sun 11:00-17:00, Mon closed. This public gallery has permanent and temporary exhibitions of modern and contemporary art. It also houses Francis Bacon's studio which was relocated in 2001 from London. Free. (updated Jul 2015)
- ⊙Dublin Writers Museum, 18 Parnell Sq, Dublin 1, ☎ +353 18 722077. M-Sa 10:00-17:00, (Jun-Aug open until 18:00) Su & holidays 11:00-17:00. Located in an 18th-century house, the museum is dedicated to Irish literature and the lives of individual Irish writers such as Shaw, Joyce, Yeats & Pearse. €7.25, children €4.55, family tickets €21.
- ⊙Dublinia & the Viking World, St. Michael's Hill, Christchurch, Dublin 2, ☎ +353 16 794611. Mar-Sep 10:00-17:00, Oct-Feb 10:00-16:15. A heritage centre located in central Dublin, at the heart of the medieval city. The exhibitions at Dublinia explore life as it was in the medieval city and the world of the Vikings. Discounted admission to the Christ Church Cathedral available. €6.25, children €3.75, student €5.25.
- ⊙Green on Red Gallery, Park Lane, Spencer Dock, Dublin 1 (Exiting Pearse rail station and turn right. Cross Pearse St and it will be on the left opposite Lombard bar), ☎ +353 16 713414, +353 87 2454282. Wed-F 10:00-18:00, Sa 11:00-15:00, Su Closed, M and Tue by appointment. The Green On Red Gallery is one of Ireland’s most dynamic and exciting galleries. Representing some of the best contemporary work on the market, both Irish and international. The programme is based on 10-11 solo exhibitions and 1-2 group or thematic exhibitions per year. Green On Red participates annually in international art fairs and the gallery’s artists regularly exhibit abroad in both private and public venues. Free entrance. (updated Jul 2015)
- ⊙Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA), Royal Hospital, Military Road, Kilmainham, Dublin 8, ☎ +353 16 129900. Tue-Fri 11:30-17:30, Sat 10:00-17:30, Sun 12:00-17:30, Mon closed. Modern & contemporary art, formal gardens & café. Free entrance. (updated Sep 2017)
- ⊙Jeanie Johnston Famine Ship Museum, The ship is at Custom House Quay (across from Jury's Inn), ☎ +353 14 730111. Tours daily 11:00, 12:00, 14:00, 15:00 and 16:00. This active ship is an accurate replica of the original Jeanie Johnston, which sailed between Tralee in Co. Kerry and North America between 1847 and 1855, transporting Irish emigrants during the Great Famine. As the ship is still used for sailing it is sometimes away from Dublin so check the website or call ahead prior to your visit to ensure that the Jeanie Johnston will be at Custom House Quay. The tour takes visitors below deck to learn about some of the people who sailed on the Jeanie Johnston in the Famine years. €8.50, seniors/students €7.50, children €4.50, family €20.
- ⊙Little Museum of Dublin, 15 St. Stephen's Green, Dublin 2, ☎ +353 16 611000. 11:00-18:00 F-W, 11:00-20:00 Th. A non-profit museum documenting the social, cultural and political history of Dublin city, the collection, housed in a beautiful Georgian townhouse on St. Stephen's Green, tells the story of the capital in the 20th century, with over 400 artifacts donated by Dubliners past and present! Free Guided Tours daily at 11:00, 13:00, 15:00 & 17:00. €5 (€3 concession), family tickets €12.
- ⊙The National Gallery of Ireland, Merrion Square West & Clare St, Dublin 2 (DART Pearse Station will get you to within five minutes from the Gallery.), ☎ +353 16 615133. M-Sa 09:30-17:30 (till 20:30 on Th) and Su 12:00-17:30. Closed Good Friday and 24-26 Dec. National collection of Irish and European Art. Free entrance, but donations recommended.
- ⊙National Museum of Ireland - Archaeology, Kildare St, Dublin 2 (Buses 37/38/39 and variants, 46a, 140, 145 stop on Kildare St, or 5-10 minute walk from College Green/Grafton St), ☎ +353 16 777444. Tu-Sa 10:00-17:00; Su 14:00-17:00, closed M, 25 Dec and Good Friday. Not to be missed for anyone interested in Irish history as this museum is the national repository for all all archaeological objects found in Ireland. The Prehistoric Ireland and Treasury exhibits are particularly exceptional. Free entrance.
- ⊙National Museum of Ireland - Decorative Arts & History, Collins Barracks, Benburb St, Dublin 7 (Luas Red line stop 'Museum' is right outside the entrance), ☎ +353 16 777444. Tu-Sa 10:00-17:00; Su 14:00-17:00, closed M, 25 Dec and Good Friday. Decorative arts and historial artificats from the founding of the state and historical Irish civilisation, as well as special exhibits. Free entrance.
- ⊙National Museum of Ireland - Natural History, Merrion Square, Dublin 2 (10 minute walk from College Green/Grafton St area, nearby buses 46a/145 stop on Nassau St and 4/7/26/66/67 on Merrion Square), ☎ +353 16 777444. Tu-Sa 10:00-17:00; Su 14:00-17:00, closed M, 25 Dec and Good Friday. The "Dead Zoo" contains a comprehensive zoological collection stored and maintained in a manner unchanged since its establishment in Victorian times. Free entrance.
Dublin has a wide range of good quality restaurants, most of which are seen as overpriced by European standards. Main course prices range from around €10 at the lower end up to around €40 at the higher end. Wine in restaurants is generally marked up from its already expensive retail price by a factor of at least two and three times retail price would not be uncommon.
There are many excellent value Indian restaurants around the South William Street area, parallel to Grafton Street. These often have reasonable priced lunch and 'early bird' deals, offering three course meals for around €10. Quality is high but not on a par with UK.
A similar multi-cultural hotspot is Parnell Street in Dublin 1 (O'Connell Street-Gardiner Street), which has a dense concentration of Chinese and Asian restaurants extensively frequented by the ex-pat communities.
In Dublin, there has been a rise in Mexican, Indian and ergonomically-designed eateries as restaurants, to reflect the hipster demographic. Many of the Indian and Mexican restaurants are small businesses.
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Wikivoyage contributors, 'Dublin', Wikivoyage, The FREE worldwide travel guide that anyone can edit, 11 April 2018, 11:10 UTC, <https://en.wikivoyage.org/w/index.php?title=Dublin&oldid=3465070> [accessed 19 April 2018]
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