Baile Átha Cliath
Clockwise from top: Samuel Beckett Bridge, Trinity College, Custom House, Dublin Castle, O'Connell Bridge, and Convention Centre Dublin.


Coat of arms
Motto: Obedientia Civium Urbis Felicitas
"The citizens' obedience is the city's happiness"[1]
Dublin is located in Ireland
Location of Dublin in Ireland
Coordinates: 53°20′52″N 6°15′35″W / 53.34778°N 6.25972°W / 53.34778; -6.25972Coordinates: 53°20′52″N 6°15′35″W / 53.34778°N 6.25972°W / 53.34778; -6.25972
Country Ireland
Province Leinster
 – Type City Council
 – Headquarters Dublin City Hall
 – Lord Mayor Andrew Montague (Lab)
 – Dáil Éireann Dublin Central
Dublin North Central
Dublin North East
Dublin North West
Dublin South Central
Dublin South East
 – European Parliament Dublin constituency
 – City 114.99 km2 (44.4 sq mi)
 – City 525,383
 – Density 4,398/km2 (11,390.8/sq mi)
 – Urban 1,045,769
 – Metro 1,801,040
 – Demonym Dubliner, Dub
 – Ethnicity
(2006 Census)
Time zone WET (UTC0)
 – Summer (DST) IST (UTC+1)
Postal districts D1-18, 20, 22, 24, D6W
Area code(s) 01
Website www.dublincity.ie

Dublin (play /ˈdʌblɨn/; locally /ˈdʊblən/; Irish: Baile Átha Cliath, meaning "town of the hurdled ford", pronounced [blʲaˈklʲiə] or Áth Cliath, [aː klʲiə], occasionally Duibhlinn) is the capital and most populous city of Ireland.[2] [3] The English name for the city is derived from the Irish name Dubh Linn, meaning "black pool". Dublin is situated near the midpoint of Ireland's east coast, at the mouth of the River Liffey, and at the centre of the Dublin Region.

Originally founded as a Viking settlement, it evolved into the Kingdom of Dublin and became the island's principal city following the Norman invasion. The city expanded rapidly from the 17th century, and for a brief period was the second largest city within the British Empire and the fifth largest in Europe. However, Dublin entered a period of stagnation following the Act of Union of 1800, but remained the economic centre for most of the island. Following the partition of Ireland in 1922, the new parliament, the Oireachtas, was located in Leinster House. Dublin became the capital of the Irish Free State and later of the Republic of Ireland.

Similar to the other cities of Cork, Limerick, Galway, and Waterford, Dublin is administered separately from its respective county with its own city council. The city is currently ranked 29th in the Global Financial Centres Index and is listed by the GaWC as a global city, with a ranking of Alpha-, placing Dublin among the top 30 cities in the world.[4][5] It is a historical and contemporary cultural centre for the country, as well as a modern centre of education, the arts, administration, economy and industry.




Although the area surrounding Dublin Bay has been inhabited by humans since prehistoric times, the writings of Ptolemy, the Egyptian astronomer and cartographer, provide possibly the earliest reference to a settlement he described as Eblana Civitas in about 140 AD. The name Dublin is derived from the Irish name Dubh Linn, meaning "black pool". Baile Átha Cliath, meaning "town of the hurdled ford", is the common name for the city in modern Irish. Áth Cliath is a place name referring to a fording point of the River Liffey in the vicinity of Father Mathew Bridge. Baile Átha Cliath was an early Christian monastery which is believed to have been situated in the area of Aungier Street, currently occupied by Whitefriar Street Carmelite Church.

Father Mathew Bridge is understood to be in close proximity to the ancient "Ford of the Hurdles" (Baile Átha Cliath), the original crossing point on the River Liffey.

The subsequent Scandinavian settlement was on the River Poddle, a tributary of the Liffey in an area now known as Wood Quay. The Dubh Linn was a lake used to moor ships and was connected to the Liffey by the Poddle. These lakes were covered during the early 18th century, and they were largely abandoned as the city expanded. The Dubh Linn was situated where the Castle Garden is now located, opposite the Chester Beatty Library in Dublin Castle. Táin Bó Cuailgne, also known as The Cattle Raid of Cooley, refers to Dublind rissa ratter Áth Cliath, meaning Dublin, which is called Ath Cliath.

In most Irish dialects, Dubh is correctly pronounced as duv or duf (usually pronounced duu in Ulster Irish). The original pronunciation is preserved in Old English as Difelin, Old Norse as Dyflin, modern Icelandic as Dyflinn and modern Manx as Divlyn. Historically, in the Gaelic script, bh was written with a dot over the b, rendering Duḃ Linn or Duḃlinn. Those without knowledge of Irish omitted the dot, spelling the name as Dublin

Middle Ages

Dublin was established as a Viking settlement in the 9th century and, despite a number a rebellions by the native Irish, it remained largely under Viking control until the Norman invasion of Ireland was launched from Wales in 1169.[6] The King of Leinster, Diarmait Mac Murchada, enlisted the help of Strongbow, the Earl of Pembroke, to conquer Dublin. Following Mac Murrough’s death, Strongbow declared himself King of Leinster after gaining control of the city. In response to Strongbow's successful invasion, King Henry II of England reaffirmed his sovereignty by mounting a larger invasion in 1171 and pronouncing himself Lord of Ireland.[7]

Dublin Castle was the fortified seat of British rule in Ireland until 1922.

Dublin Castle, which became the centre of English power in Ireland, was founded in 1204 as a major defensive work on the orders of King John of England.[8] Following the appointment of the first Lord Mayor of Dublin in 1229, the city expanded and had a population of 8,000 by the end of the 13th century. Dublin prospered as a trade centre, despite an attempt by King Robert I of Scotland to capture the city in 1317.[7] It remained a relatively small walled medieval town during the 14th century and was under constant threat from the surrounding native clans. In 1348, the Black Death, a lethal plague which had ravaged Europe, took hold in Dublin and killed thousands over the following decade.[9][10]

Dublin was incorporated into the English Crown as The Pale, which was a narrow strip of English settlement along the eastern seaboard. The Tudor conquest of Ireland in the 16th century spelt a new era for Dublin, with the city enjoying a renewed prominence as the centre of administrative rule in Ireland. Determined to make Dublin a Protestant city, Queen Elizabeth I of England established Trinity College in 1592 as a solely Protestant university and ordered that the Catholic St. Patrick's and Christ Church cathedrals be converted to Protestant.[11]

The city had a population of 21,000 in 1640 before a plague in 1649–51 wiped out almost half of the city's inhabitants. However, the city prospered again soon after as a result of the wool and linen trade with England, reaching a population of over 50,000 in 1700.[12]

Early modern

Henrietta Street, developed in the 1720s, is the earliest Georgian Street in Dublin.

As the city continued to prosper during the 17th century, Georgian Dublin became, for a short period, the second largest city of the British Empire and the fifth largest city in Europe, with the population exceeding 130,000. The vast majority of Dublin's most notable architecture dates from this period, such as the Four Courts and the Custom House. Temple Bar and Grafton Street are two of the few remaining areas that were not affected by the wave of Georgian reconstruction and maintained their medieval character.[11]

Dublin grew even more dramatically during the 18th century, with the construction of many famous districts and buildings, such as Merrion Square, Parliament House and the Royal Exchange.[11] The Wide Streets Commission was established in 1757 at the request of Dublin Corporation to govern architectural standards on the layout of streets, bridges and buildings. In 1759, the founding of the Guinness brewery resulted in a considerable economic gain for the city. For much of the time since its foundation, the brewery was Dublin's largest employer.

Late modern and contemporary

The GPO on O'Connell Street was at the centre of the 1916 Easter Rising.

Dublin suffered a period of political and economic decline during the 19th century following the Act of Union of 1800, under which the seat of government was transferred to the Westminster Parliament in London. The city played no major role in the Industrial Revolution, but remained the centre of administration and a transport hub for most of the island. Ireland had no significant sources of coal, the fuel of the time, and Dublin was not a centre of ship manufacturing, the other main driver of industrial development in Britain and Ireland.[6] Belfast developed faster than Dublin during this period on a mixture of international trade, factory-based linen cloth production and shipbuilding.[13]

The Easter Rising of 1916, the Irish War of Independence, and the subsequent Irish Civil War resulted in a significant amount of physical destruction in central Dublin. The Government of the Irish Free State rebuilt the city centre and located the new parliament, the Oireachtas, in Leinster House. Since the beginning of Anglo-Norman rule in the 12th century, the city has functioned as the capital in varying geopolitical entities: Lordship of Ireland (1171–1541), Kingdom of Ireland (1541–1800), island as part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland (1801–1922), and the Irish Republic (1919–1922).[14] Following the partition of Ireland in 1922, it became the capital of the Irish Free State (1922–1949) and now is the capital of the Republic of Ireland. One of the memorials to commemorate that time is the Garden of Remembrance.

Since 1997, the landscape of Dublin has changed immensely. The city was at the forefront of Ireland's rapid economic expansion during the Celtic Tiger period, with enormous private sector and state development of housing, transport, alcohol and business.



Civic Offices of Dublin City Council.

Dublin City Council is a unicameral assembly of 52 members elected every five years from Local Election Areas. It is presided over by the Lord Mayor, who is elected for a yearly term and resides in Mansion House. Council meetings occur at Dublin City Hall, while most of its administrative activities are based in the Civic Offices on Wood Quay. The party or coalition of parties, with the majority of seats adjudicates committee members, introduces policies, and appoints the Lord Mayor. The Council passes an annual budget for spending on areas such as housing, traffic management, refuse, drainage, and planning. The Dublin City Manager is responsible for implementing City Council decisions.


Leinster House on Kildare Street houses the Oireachtas.

As the capital city, Dublin seats the national parliament of Ireland, the Oireachtas. It is composed of the President of Ireland, Seanad Éireann as the upper house, and Dáil Éireann as the lower house. The President resides in Áras an Uachtaráin in the Phoenix Park, while both houses of the Oireachtas meet in Leinster House, a former ducal palace on Kildare Street. It has been the home of the Irish parliament since the creation of the Irish Free State in 1922. The old Irish Houses of Parliament of the Kingdom of Ireland were located in College Green.

Government Buildings house the Department of the Taoiseach, the Council Chamber, the Department of Finance and the Office of the Attorney General. It consists of a main building (completed 1911) with two wings (completed 1921). It was designed by Thomas Manley Dean and Sir Aston Webb as the Royal College of Science. The House of Commons of Southern Ireland met there in 1921. The Irish Free State government took over the two wings of the building to serve as a temporary home for some ministries, while the central building became the College of Technology until 1989.[15] Although both it and Leinster House were intended to be temporary, they became the permanent homes of parliament from then on.

For elections to Dáil Éireann the city is divided into five constituencies: Dublin Central (4 seats), Dublin North–Central (3 seats), Dublin North-East (3 seats), Dublin North–West (3 seats), Dublin South–Central (5 seats) and Dublin South–East (4 seats). 22 TD's are elected in total. Dublin North East, Dublin North West and Dublin South Central also take in parts of County Fingal and South Dublin County.


In the past Dublin city was regarded as a stronghold for Fianna Fáil, however following the Irish local elections, 2004 the party was eclipsed by the centre-left Labour Party.[16] Labour further increased its number of councillors at the 2009 local elections and currently has the largest number of TD's from the city (10 out of 22).



Satellite image showing the River Liffey entering the Irish Sea as it divides Dublin into the Northside and the Southside.

Dublin is situated at the mouth of the River Liffey and encompasses a land area of approximately 115 km2. It is bordered by a low mountain range to the south and surrounded by flat farmland to the north and west.[17] A north-south division has traditionally existed, with the River Liffey as the divider. The Northside is generally seen as working-class, while the Southside is seen as middle to upper middle class. The divide is punctuated by examples of Dublin "sub-culture" stereotypes, with upper-middle class constituents seen as tending towards an accent and demeanour synonymous with the Southside, and working-class Dubliners seen as tending towards characteristics associated with Northside and inner-city areas. Dublin's economic divide is east-west as well as north-south. There are also social divisions evident between the coastal suburbs in the east of the city, including those on the northside, and the newer developments further to the west.[18]


Similar to much of northwest Europe, Dublin experiences a maritime climate with mild winters, cool summers, and a lack of temperature extremes. The average maximum January temperature is 8.3 °C (47 °F), while the average maximum July temperature is 19.6 °C (67 °F). On average, the sunniest months are May and June, while the wettest month is December with 73 mm (3 in) of rain, and the driest month is July with 43 mm (2 in). Rainfall is evenly distributed throughout the year.

Dublin records the least amount of rainfall in Ireland, with the average annual precipitation in the city centre being 695 mm (27 in). The main precipitation in winter is rain; however snow showers do occur between November and March. Hail is more common than snow (during winter months) however an exception to this was the calendar year 2010 which saw the Greater Dublin area recording more than a month's lying snow. The city experiences long summer days and short winter days. Strong Atlantic winds are most common in autumn. These winds can affect Dublin, but due to its easterly location it is least affected compared to other parts of the country.

Climate data for Merrion Square, Dublin (1961–1990 averages)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 8.3
Average low °C (°F) 3.5
Rainfall mm (inches) 69
Sunshine hours 55.8 70.0 111.6 156.0 207.7 201.0 167.4 158.1 129.0 96.1 72.0 52.7 1,477.4
Source no. 1: Met Éireann
Source no. 2: Climatetemp

Places of interest


The Spire of Dublin rises behind the statue of Jim Larkin.

Dublin has many landmarks and monuments dating back hundreds of years. One of the oldest is Dublin Castle, which was first founded as a major defensive work on the orders of King John of England in 1204, shortly after the Norman invasion of Ireland in 1169, when it was commanded that a castle be built with strong walls and good ditches for the defence of the city, the administration of justice, and the protection of the King’s treasure.[19] Largely complete by 1230, the castle was of typical Norman courtyard design, with a central square without a keep, bounded on all sides by tall defensive walls and protected at each corner by a circular tower. Sited to the south-east of Norman Dublin, the castle formed one corner of the outer perimeter of the city, using the River Poddle as a natural means of defence.

the Molly Malone statue near Grafton Street.

One of Dublin's newest monuments is the Spire of Dublin, or officially titled "Monument of Light".[20] It is a 121.2 metres (398 ft) conical spire made of stainless steel and is located on O'Connell Street. It replaces Nelson's Pillar and is intended to mark Dublin's place in the 21st century. The spire was designed by Ian Ritchie Architects,[21] who sought an "Elegant and dynamic simplicity bridging art and technology". During the day it maintains its steel look, but at dusk the monument appears to merge into the sky. The base of the monument is lit and the top is illuminated to provide a beacon in the night sky across the city.

Many people visit Trinity College, Dublin to see the Book of Kells in the library there. The Book of Kells is an illustrated manuscript created by Irish monks circa. 800 AD. The Ha'penny Bridge; an old iron footbridge over the River Liffey is one of the most photographed sights in Dublin and is considered to be one of Dublin's most iconic landmarks.[22]

Other popular landmarks and monuments include the Mansion House, the Anna Livia monument, the Molly Malone statue, Christ Church Cathedral, St Patrick's Cathedral, Saint Francis Xavier Church on Upper Gardiner Street near Mountjoy Square, The Custom House, and Áras an Uachtaráin. The Poolbeg Towers are also iconic features of Dublin and are visible in many spots around the city.


Dublin has more green spaces per square kilometre than any other European capital city, with 97% of city residents living within 300 meters of a park area. The city council provides 2.96 hectares (7.3 acres) of public green space per 1,000 people and 255 playing fields. The council also plants approximately 5,000 trees annually and manages over 1,500 hectares (3,700 acres) of parks.[23]

There are many park areas around the city, including the Phoenix Park, Herbert Park and St Stephen's Green. The Phoenix Park is 2–4 km west of the city centre, north of the River Liffey. Its 16 km perimeter wall encloses 707 hectares (1,750 acres) one of the largest walled city parks in Europe.[24][25] It includes large areas of grassland and tree-lined avenues, and since the 17th century has been home to a herd of wild Fallow deer. The residence of the President of Ireland (Áras an Uachtaráin), which was built in 1754, is located in the park. The park is also home to Dublin Zoo, the official residence of the United States Ambassador, and Ashtown Castle. Music concerts have also been performed in the park by many singers and musicians.

St Stephen's Green is adjacent to one of Dublin's main shopping streets, Grafton Street, and to a shopping centre named for it, while on its surrounding streets are the offices of a number of public bodies and the city terminus of one of Dublin's Luas tram lines. St Anne's Park is a public park and recreational facility, shared between Raheny and Clontarf, both suburbs on the North Side of Dublin. The park, the second largest municipal park in Dublin, is part of a former 2 km² (500 acre) estate assembled by members of the Guinness family, beginning with Benjamin Lee Guinness in 1835 (the largest municipal park is nearby (North) Bull Island, also shared between Clontarf and Raheny).


Grafton Street is a principal shopping street in Dublin city centre.

The Dublin region is the economic centre of Ireland, and was at the forefront of the country's rapid economic expansion during the Celtic Tiger period. In 2009, Dublin was listed as the fourth richest city in the world by purchasing power and 10th richest by personal income.[26][27] According to Mercer's 2011 Worldwide Cost of Living Survey, Dublin is the 13th most expensive city in the European Union (down from 10th in 2010) and the 58th most expensive place to live in the world (down from 42nd in 2010).[28] As of 2005, approximately 800,000 people were employed in the Greater Dublin Area, of whom around 600,000 were employed in the services sector and 200,000 in the industrial sector.[29]

Ulster Bank on George's Quay Plaza.

Many of Dublin's traditional industries, such as food processing, textile manufacturing, brewing, and distilling have gradually declined, although Guinness has been brewed at the St. James's Gate Brewery since 1759. Economic improvements in the 1990s have attracted a large number of global pharmaceutical, information and communications technology companies to the city and Greater Dublin Area. Companies such as Microsoft, Google, Amazon, eBay, PayPal, Yahoo!, Facebook and Pfizer now have European headquarters and/or operational bases in the city. Intel and Hewlett-Packard have large manufacturing plants in Leixlip, County Kildare, 15 km (9 mi) to the west.

Financial services have also become important to the city since the establishment of Dublin's International Financial Services Centre in 1987, which is globally recognised as a leading location for a range of internationally traded financial services. More than 500 operations are approved to trade in under the IFSC programme. The centre is host to half of the world's top 50 banks and to half of the top 20 insurance companies.[30] Many international firms have established major headquarters in the city, such as Citibank and Commerzbank. The Irish Stock Exchange (ISEQ), Internet Neutral Exchange (INEX) and Irish Enterprise Exchange (IEX) are also located in Dublin. The economic boom led to a sharp increase in construction, with large redevelopment projects in the Dublin Docklands and Spencer Dock. Completed projects include the Convention Centre, The O2, and the Grand Canal Theatre.



The M50 motorway surrounding Dublin.

The road network in Ireland is primarily focused on Dublin. The M50 motorway, a semi-ring road which runs around the south, west and north of the city, connects important national primary routes to the rest of the country. In 2008, the West-Link toll bridge was replaced by the eFlow barrier-free tolling system, with a three-tiered charge system based on electronic tags and car pre-registration. The toll is currently €2 for vehicles with a pre-paid tag, €2.50 for vehicles whose number plates have been registered with eFlow, and €3 for unregistered vehicles.[31]

The first phase of a proposed eastern bypass for the city is the Dublin Port Tunnel, which officially opened in 2006 to mainly cater for heavy vehicles. The tunnel connects Dublin Port and the M1 motorway close to Dublin Airport. The city is also surrounded by an inner and outer orbital route. The inner orbital route runs approximately around the heart of the Georgian city and the outer orbital route runs primarily along the natural circle formed by Dublin's two canals, the Grand Canal and the Royal Canal, as well as the North and South Circular Roads.

Dublin is served by an extensive network of nearly 200 bus routes which serve all areas of the city and suburbs. The majority of these are controlled by Dublin Bus, but a number of smaller companies also operate. Fares are generally calculated on a stage system based on distance travelled. There are several different levels of fares, which apply on most services. The Bus Arrival Information Service is being rolled out which provides bus stops with information on the distance of buses based on GPS positions of the buses.


Luas trams at the Tallaght terminus.
Dublinbikes terminal in the Docklands.

Heuston and Connolly stations are the two main railway stations in Dublin. Operated by Iarnród Éireann, the Dublin Suburban Rail network consists of five railway lines serving the Greater Dublin Area and commuter towns such as Drogheda and Dundalk in County Louth. One of these lines is the electrified Dublin Area Rapid Transit (DART) line, which runs primarily along the coast of Dublin, from Malahide and Howth southwards as far as Greystones in County Wicklow.[32] Commuter rail operates on the other four lines using Irish Rail diesel multiple units.

The Luas is a two-line light rail or tram network which has been operated in Dublin by Veolia Transport since 2004. The network consists of two routes, the Red Line and Green Line, with a total 54 stations and 38.2 kilometres (23.7 mi) of track.[33] A decision on whether to expand the Luas system will be made in September 2011, when a new national development plan is to be published. Proposed multi-million euro projects such as the Dublin Metro and the DART Underground will also be considered in light of the current difficult economic climate.[34]


Dublin Airport is operated by the Dublin Airport Authority and is located north of Dublin City in the administrative county of Fingal. It is the headquarters of Ireland's flag carrier Aer Lingus, low-cost carrier Ryanair and regional airline Aer Arann. The airport offers an extensive short and medium haul network, as well as domestic services to many regional airports in Ireland. There are also extensive Long Haul services to the United States, Canada and the Middle East. Dublin Airport is the busiest airport in Ireland, followed by Cork and Shannon. Construction of a second terminal began in 2007 and was officially opened on 19 November 2010.[35]


Dublinbikes is a self-service bicycle rental scheme which has been in operation in Dublin since 2009. Sponsored by JCDecaux, the scheme consists of 550 French-made unisex bicycles stationed at 44 terminals throughout the city centre. Users must make a subscription for either an annual Long Term Hire Card costing €10 or a 3 Day Ticket costing €2. The first 30 minutes of use is free, but after that a service charge depending on the extra length of use applies.[36] Dublinbikes now has over 58,000 subscribers and there are plans to dramatically expand the service across the city and its suburbs to provide for up to 5,000 bicycles and approximately 300 terminals.[37]


Dublin is the primary centre of education in Ireland, with three universities and many other higher education institutions. There are 20 third-level institutes in the city. Dublin will be European Capital of Science in 2012.[38][39] The University of Dublin is the oldest university in Ireland dating from the 16th century, and is located in the city centre. Its sole constituent college, Trinity College, was established by Royal Charter in 1592 under Elizabeth I and was closed to Roman Catholics until Catholic Emancipation. The Catholic hierarchy then banned Roman Catholics from attending it until 1970. It is situated in the city centre, on College Green, and has 15,000 students.

The National University of Ireland (NUI) has its seat in Dublin, which is also the location of the associated constituent university of University College Dublin (UCD), the largest university in Ireland with over 22,000 students. UCD's main campus at Belfield is located about 5 km south east of the city centre. The Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) is a medical school which is a recognised college of the NUI, it is situated at St. Stephen's Green in the city centre. The National University of Ireland, Maynooth, another constituent university of the NUI, is in neighbouring Co. Kildare, about 25 km (16 mi) from the city centre. The Institute of European Affairs is also in Dublin.

Research administration building, Belfield campus, University College Dublin.

Dublin City University (DCU) specialises in business, engineering, and science courses, particularly with relevance to industry. It has around 10,000 students, and is located about 7 km north of the city. Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT) is a modern technical college and is the country's largest non-university third-level institution. It specialises in technical subjects but also offers many arts and humanities courses. It is soon to be relocated to a new campus at Grangegorman. Two suburbs of Dublin, Tallaght and Blanchardstown have Institutes of Technology: Institute of Technology, Tallaght, and Institute of Technology, Blanchardstown. Portobello College has its degrees conferred through the University of Wales.[40] Dublin Business School (DBS) is Ireland's largest private third level institution with over 9,000 students. The college is located on Aungier Street. The Dun Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and Technology (IADT) support training and research in art, design, business, psychology and media technology. The National College of Art and Design (NCAD) supports training and research in art, design and media. The National College of Ireland (NCI) is also based in Dublin. The Economic and Social Research Institute, a social science research institute, is based on Sir John Rogerson's Quay, Dublin 2.

The Irish public administration and management training centre has its base in Dublin, the Institute of Public Administration provides a range of undergraduate and post graduate awards via the National University of Ireland and in some instances, Queen's University Belfast. There are also smaller specialised colleges, including Griffith College Dublin, The Gaiety School of Acting and the New Media Technology College.


The City of Dublin is the area administered by Dublin City Council, but the term "Dublin" normally refers to the contiguous urban area which includes parts of the adjacent local authority areas of Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown, Fingal and South Dublin. Together, the four areas form the traditional County Dublin. This area is sometimes known as the Dublin Region. The population of the administrative area controlled by the City Council was 525,383 in the 2011 census, while the population of the urban area was 1,200,769. The County Dublin population was 1,270,603 and that of the Greater Dublin Area 1,801,185. The city's population is expanding rapidly, and it is estimated by the CSO that it will reach 2.1 million by 2020.[41]

Since the late 1990s, Dublin has experienced a significant level of net immigration, with the greatest numbers coming from the European Union, especially the United Kingdom, Poland and Lithuania.[42] There is also a considerable number from outside Europe, particularly China and Nigeria. Dublin is home to a greater proportion of new arrivals than any other parts of the country. 60% of Ireland's Asian population lives in Dublin even though less than 40% of the overall population lives in the Greater Dublin Area.[43] By 2006, the percentage of foreign-born population had increased to 14.5% for the state and 17.3% in Dublin.[44]

Panoramic view of Dublin.


The arts

Dublin has a world famous literary history, having produced many prominent literary figures, including Nobel laureates William Butler Yeats, George Bernard Shaw and Samuel Beckett. Other influential writers and playwrights include Oscar Wilde, Jonathan Swift and the creator of Dracula, Bram Stoker. It is arguably most famous as the location of the greatest works of James Joyce, including Ulysses, which is set in Dublin and full of topical detail. Dubliners is a collection of short stories by Joyce about incidents and typical characters of the city during the early 20th century. Other renowned writers include J. M. Synge, Seán O'Casey, Brendan Behan, Maeve Binchy, and Roddy Doyle. Ireland's biggest libraries and literary museums are found in Dublin, including the National Print Museum of Ireland and National Library of Ireland. In July 2010, Dublin was named as a UNESCO City of Literature, joining Edinburgh, Melbourne and Iowa City with the permanent title.[45]

There are several theatres within the city centre, and various world famous actors have emerged from the Dublin theatrical scene, including Noel Purcell, Sir Michael Gambon, Brendan Gleeson, Stephen Rea, Colin Farrell, Colm Meaney and Gabriel Byrne. The best known theatres include the Gaiety, Abbey, Olympia, Gate, and Grand Canal. The Gaiety specialises in musical and operatic productions, and is popular for opening its doors after the evening theatre production to host a variety of live music, dancing, and films. The Abbey was founded in 1904 by a group that included Yeats with the aim of promoting indigenous literary talent. It went on to provide a breakthrough for some of the city's most famous writers, such as Synge, Yeats himself and George Bernard Shaw. The Gate was founded in 1928 to promote European and American Avant Garde works. The Grand Canal Theatre is a new 2,111 capacity theatre which opened in March 2010 in the Grand Canal Dock.

Apart from being the focus of the country's literature and theatre, Dublin is also the focal point for much of Irish Art and the Irish artistic scene. The Book of Kells, a world-famous manuscript produced by Celtic Monks in AD 800 and an example of Insular art, is on display in Trinity College. The Chester Beatty Library houses the famous collection of manuscripts, miniature paintings, prints, drawings, rare books and decorative arts assembled by American mining millionaire (and honorary Irish citizen) Sir Alfred Chester Beatty (1875–1968). The collections date from 2700 BC onwards and are drawn from Asia, the Middle East, North Africa and Europe. Work by local artists is often put on public display around St. Stephen's Green, the main public park in the city centre. In addition large art galleries are found across the city, including the Irish Museum of Modern Art, the National Gallery, the Hugh Lane Municipal Gallery, The City Arts Centre, The Douglas Hyde Gallery, The Project Arts Centre and The Royal Hibernian Academy. Three branches of the National Museum of Ireland are located in Dublin: Archaeology in Kildare Street, Decorative Arts and History in Collins Barracks and Natural History in Merrion Street.[46] Dublin is home to the National College of Art and Design, which dates from 1746, and Dublin Institute of Design, founded in 1991.

Dublin has long been a city with a strong underground arts scene. Temple Bar was the home of many artists in the 1980s, and spaces such as the Project Arts Centre were hubs for collectives and new exhibitions. The Guardian noted that Dublin's independent and underground arts flourished during the economic recession of 2010.[47] Dublin also has many acclaimed dramatic, musical and operatic companies, including Festival Productions, Lyric Opera Productions, The Pioneers Musical & Dramatic Society, The Glasnevin Musical Society, Second Age Theatre Company, Opera Theatre Company, and Opera Ireland. Ireland is well known for its love of baroque music, which is highly acclaimed at Trinity College.[48] Perhaps the most famous Dublin theatre company is the renowned Rathmines and Rathgar Musical Society, which has been in existence since 1913. It produced full scale productions of popular musicals and operettas including Oklahoma!, Carousel, The Mikado, Guys and Dolls, The Pirates of Penzance, Me and My Girl, My Fair Lady, The Yeoman of the Guard, Gigi, Fiddler on the Roof, The Gondoliers, Anything Goes, The Merry Widow, Iolanthe, The Producers and HMS Pinafore. At present, the society is performing a tribute concert to the works of Rodgers and Hammerstein at the National Concert Hall. The society recreated their 1913 production of The Mikado in November 2010 at the National Concert Hall.

Dublin is shortlisted to be World Design Capital 2014.[49] Taoiseach Enda Kenny was quoted to say that Dublin “would be an ideal candidate to host the World Design Capital in 2014”.[50]


Dublin has a vibrant nightlife and is reputedly one of Europe's most youthful cities, with an estimate of 50% of citizens being younger than 25.[51][52] There are many pubs across the city centre, with the area around St. Stephen's Green and Grafton Street, especially Harcourt Street, Camden Street, Wexford Street and Leeson Street, having the most popular nightclubs and pubs.

The best known area for nightlife is Temple Bar, south of the River Liffey. The area has become popular among tourists, including stag and hen parties from Britain.[53] It was developed as Dublin's cultural quarter and does retain this spirit as a centre for small arts productions, photographic and artists' studios, and in the form of street performers and small music venues. However, it has been criticised as overpriced, false and dirty by Lonely Planet.[54] In general, it is regarded by locals as tourist orientated with false "ye olde Irish" pretensions. The areas around Leeson Street, Harcourt Street, South William Street and Camden/George's Street are popular nightlife spots for locals.

Live music is popularly played on streets and at venues throughout Dublin in general, and the city has produced several musicians and groups of international success, including U2, Westlife, The Dubliners, The Thrills, Horslips, Jedward, The Boomtown Rats, Boyzone, Ronan Keating, Thin Lizzy, Paddy Casey, Sinéad O'Connor, The Script and My Bloody Valentine. The two best known cinemas in the city centre are the Savoy Cinema and the Cineworld Cinema, both north of the Liffey. Alternative and special-interest cinema can be found in the Irish Film Institute in Temple Bar, in the Screen Cinema on d'Olier Street and in the Lighthouse Cinema in Smithfield. Large modern multiscreen cinemas are located across suburban Dublin. The O2 venue in the Dublin Docklands has played host to many world renowned performers.


Dublin is a popular shopping destination for both locals and tourists. The city has numerous shopping districts, including Grafton Street, Henry Street, Stephen's Green Shopping Centre, Jervis Shopping Centre, and the Ilac Shopping Centre. The most famous shops on Grafton Street include Brown Thomas and its sister shop BT2. Brown Thomas also houses several boutiques such as Hermès, Tiffany's, Chanel and Louis Vuitton. Dublin is also the location of large department stores, such as Clerys on O'Connell Street, and Arnotts on Henry Street.

A major €800m development for the city centre, known as the "Northern Quarter" is currently in doubt. It involved the construction of 47 new shops, 175 apartments and a four-star hotel. Dublin City Council gave Arnotts planning permission for the plans to change the area bounded by Henry Street, O'Connell Street, Liffey Street and Abbey Street. Following appeals to An Bord Pleanála, the extensive scale of the development was reduced. Prince's Street, which runs off O'Connell Street, was to become a full urban street and pedestrian thoroughfare.[55] In July 2010 the project was effectively abandoned as Anglo Irish Bank and Ulster Bank took control of Arnotts due to the large debts incurred in pursuing the development.[56] The Carlton cinema site further up O'Connell Street is currently undergoing redevelopment by Crossidge Developments, who were responsible for the construction of Dundrum Town Centre, and will be anchored by British department store John Lewis.[57]

Moore Street Market in Dublin.

The city retains a thriving market culture, despite new shopping developments and the loss of some traditional market sites. Several historic locations, including Moore Street, remain one of the city's oldest trading districts.[58] There has also been a significant growth in local farmers' markets and other markets.[59][60] In 2007, Dublin Food Co-op relocated to a larger warehouse in The Liberties area, where it is home to many market and community events.[61][62] Suburban Dublin has several modern retail centres, including Dundrum Town Centre, Blanchardstown Centre, The Square in Tallaght, Liffey Valley Shopping Centre in Clondalkin, Northside Shopping Centre in Coolock, Nutgrove Shopping Centre in Rathfarnham, and Pavilions Shopping Centre in Swords.


Dublin is the centre of both media and communications in Ireland, with many newspapers, radio stations, television stations and telephone companies based there. RTÉ is Ireland's national state broadcaster, and is based in Donnybrook. Fair City is RTÉ's soap opera, located in the fictional Dublin suburb of Carraigstown. TV3, City Channel and Setanta Sports are also based in the city. The headquarters of An Post and telecommunications companies such as Eircom, as well as mobile operators Meteor, Vodafone, O2 and 3 are all located there. Dublin is also the headquarters of important national newspapers such as The Irish Times and Irish Independent, as well as local newspapers such as The Evening Herald.

Dublin is home to national commercial radio networks Today FM and Newstalk, and numerous local stations. The most popular radio stations in Dublin, by adult (15+) listenership share, are RTÉ Radio 1 (30.3%), FM104 (13.3%), 98FM (11.9%), RTÉ 2fm (10.4%), Q102 (7%), Spin 1038 (7%), Newstalk (6.8%), Today FM (5.7%), RTÉ lyric fm (2.7%), Dublin's Country Mix 106.8 (2.6%) and Phantom FM (1.8%). Among the under 35s, this figures are very different with FM104 (24.9%), Spin 1038 (17.3%) and 98FM (15.6%) being the most popular.[63] There are two Irish language radio stations which can be picked up in the Dublin area: RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta, and Raidió na Life 106.4fm, both of which have studios in the city.


The city is host to Croke Park, the headquarters of the Gaelic Athletic Association. With a capacity of 82,300, it is the third largest stadium in Europe after Nou Camp in Barcelona and Wembley in London.[64] It traditionally hosts Gaelic football and hurling games, as well as international rules football. The Dublin team plays most of their home league hurling and Gaelic Football games at Parnell Park. Lansdowne Road stadium was the venue for home games of both the Irish Rugby Union Team and the national football team. As part of a joint venture between the Irish Rugby Football Union, the FAI and the Government, it was replaced by the 50,000 all-seater Aviva Stadium, which opened in May 2010.[65] On 29 January 2009, UEFA confirmed that the Aviva Stadium will host the 2011 UEFA Europa League Final, the game was played on 18 May 2011, Portuguese club Porto beat fellow Portuguese side Braga 1-0.[66] Rugby union team Leinster Rugby play their home matches in the RDS Arena & the Aviva Stadium.

St Patrick's Athletic against Romanian club Steaua Bucharest.

Dublin is home to six League of Ireland clubs, five in the Premier Division and one in the First Division. Dalymount Park in Phibsboro, which was a former venue of Republic of Ireland international soccer matches and is the home stadium of Bohemians F.C. Current League Champions Shamrock Rovers play at Tallaght Stadium, St Patrick's Athletic play at Richmond Park, and University College Dublin play their home games at the UCD Bowl, while Shelbourne is based at Tolka Park. Tolka Park, Dalymount Park, UCD Bowl and Tallaght Stadium, along with the Carlisle Grounds in Bray, hosted all Group 3 games in the intermediary round of the 2011 UEFA Regions' Cup.

The National Aquatic Centre in Blanchardstown is Ireland's largest indoor water leisure facility. The Dublin area has several race courses including Shelbourne Park and Leopardstown. The Dublin Horse Show takes place at the RDS, which hosted the Show Jumping World Championships in 1982. The national boxing arena is located in The National Stadium on the South Circular Road. There are also basketball, handball, hockey and athletics stadia, most notably Morton Stadium in Santry, which held the athletics events of the 2003 Special Olympics.

Australian Rules Football has had a presence in the city since 1999 and there are now three clubs in the Capital; the Dublin Demons, the South Dublin Swans and the West Dublin Saints. All three clubs play in the Aussieproperty.com Premiership and many of their players have represented Ireland's National Aussie Rules Team, the Irish Warriors. Ireland's domestic Rugby League competition has been running since 1997.[67] The North Dublin Eagles play in Ireland's Carnegie League. Recent popularity has been increased with the Irish Wolfhound's success in the Rugby League World Cup which was held in Australia in 2008. The Dublin Marathon has been run since 1980 on the last Monday in October. The Women's Mini Marathon has been run since 1983 on the first Monday in June, which is also a bank holiday in Ireland. It is said to be the largest all female event of its kind in the world.[68] The Dublin Roller Girls were the first roller derby league to form in the country.[69]


Dublin is twinned with the following places:[70][71]

City Nation Since
San Jose United States[72] 1986
Liverpool United Kingdom[73] 1997
Barcelona Spain[74][75] 1998
Beijing China[76][77] 2011

The city is also in talks to twin with Rio de Janeiro.[78]

See also

  • Global city
  • Dublin English
  • List of people from Dublin
  • List of European metropolitan areas by GRP


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Further reading

  • John Flynn and Jerry Kelleher, Dublin Journeys in America (High Table Publishing, 2003) ISBN 0-9544694-1-0
  • Hanne Hem, Dubliners, An Anthropologist's Account, Oslo, 1994
  • Pat Liddy, Dublin A Celebration – From the 1st to the 21st century (Dublin City Council, 2000) ISBN 0-946841-50-0
  • Maurice Craig, The Architecture of Ireland from the Earliest Times to 1880 (Batsford, Paperback edition 1989) ISBN 0-7134-2587-3
  • Frank McDonald, Saving the City: How to Halt the Destruction of Dublin (Tomar Publishing, 1989) ISBN 1-871793-03-3
  • Edward McParland, Public Architecture in Ireland 1680–1760 (Yale University Press, 2001) ISBN 0-300-09064-1

External links

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