Dublin (Irish: Baile Átha Cliath, "Town of the Hurdled Ford") is the capital city of Ireland. Its vibrancy, nightlife and tourist attractions are noteworthy, and it is the most popular entry point for international visitors to Ireland. As a city, it is disproportionately large for the size of the country (2011 pop. Greater Dublin Region 1.8 million); well over a quarter of the Republic's population lives in the metropolitan area. The centre is, however, relatively small and can be navigated by foot, with most of the population living in suburbs.
Founded in 841, Dublin was originally settled by Vikings amongst 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 nearby area referred to as “the Pale”.
When the English Civil Wars 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 greatest city, only behind London, and a period when great Georgian style building 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. One event remembered as a key moment in Irish history is the Easter rising in 1916.
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.
Customs House on the Liffey
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 postcodes 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. Usually, the lower the postcode, the closer to the city centre.
If you're already in the city, the main tourist office , located in St. Andrew's Church just off Grafton Street in the city centre (Dublin 2), is a good place to start for information. You can book accommodation and tours there, as well as find general information on where to go and what to do.
Although some of Dublin's finest Georgian architecture was demolished in the mid-20th century, a remarkable amount remains. They were a reminder of the past British imperialism and were pulled without regard to their beauty and architectural significance. They were 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.