Dublin is the capital and the largest city of the Republic of Ireland. It has a population of over 1 million people, which makes up for one third of entire country’s population. The city is located near the coast, at the mouth of the River Liffey. The center is relatively small and can be easily explored by foot, whereas most of the population lives in the sprawling suburbs.The survey of 2003 found that the best capital city in Europe to live in was Dublin and the best country to live in was Ireland.
The city has numerous historical, cultural and architectural landmarks, a vibrant nightlife and cultural scene. Not far from the city the Wicklow Mountains with its hills, forests and waterfalls present an ideal weekend destination for all nature lovers. Between the mouth of the river Liffey and the Dalkey headland lays The Dublin Bay, where you can visit and explore numerous small coast towns. You can also explore the counties of Louth and Meath where evidences of early civilizations have been found, and where many beautiful castles and monasteries are located.
Dublin has a maritime temperate climate with mild winters, cool summers and generally no temperature extremes. Ireland is known for wet weather but Dublin is drier than most areas. Summer in Dublin is cool but pleasant with July temperatures around 20°C. Most sunshine can be expected in May and June. Winters are wet with mild temperatures that rarely sink below zero. Average temperatures in the coldest months of January and February range from 4 to 8°C. Snow is rare. The wettest months are December and August, the driest month is April. July is warmest and January is the coolest. Dublin’s high latitude contributes to unusually long summer days, sometimes with as much as 19 hours of daylight and very short winter days with as little as 9 hours of daylight.
January average temperature 4 deg Celsius, 68.6 mm rainfall February average temperature 5 deg Celsius, 50.8 mm rainfall March average temperature 5.5 deg Celsius, 53.3 mm rainfall April average temperature 6.6 deg Celsius, 50.8 mm rainfall May average temperature 10 deg Celsius, 55.9 mm rainfall June average temperature 13 deg Celsius, 55.9 mm rainfall July average temperature 15 deg Celsius, 50.8 mm rainfall August average temperature 14 deg Celsius, 71.1 mm rainfall September average temperature 11.6 deg Celsius, 66.0 mm rainfall October average temperature 10 deg Celsius, 71.1 mm rainfall November average temperature 5.5 deg Celsius, 63.5 mm rainfall December average temperature 5 deg Celsius, 76.2 mm rainfall
Ireland ’s major airport is located 10 km north of Dublin’s city center. It handles most international airlines. There are direct flights from major European cities, from the UK, and from major cities in the USA. www.dublinairport.com /
The airport is conveniently located approximately 10 km north of Dublin city centre. It is served by a large number of buses, coaches and taxis all allowing you to get to and from the airport with ease. www.dublinairport.com/to-and-from /
Dublin bus has an express AirLink service, running every 10 minutes. One way fare costs EUR 6 and return 10. www.dublinbus.ie /
Aircoach buses are more expensive but also more comfortable, linking the airport with all the major hotels. They run 24 hours a day, cost EUR 8 for one way and EUR 14 for return ticket. www.aircoach.ie /
Taxis are waiting by the arrivals gate. It is the quickest way of reaching the city; the ride to the city takes 30 minutes and costs around EUR 20 - 30.
There are two ferry terminals, the Dublin Port terminal 3 km northeast of the city and Dun Laoghaire's Carlisle ferry terminal 13 km southeast of the city. Both have good connections with the city’s public transport.
SUBURBAN RAIL - DART
Dart – Dublin Area Rapid Transport is a system of five rail lines serving mostly the Greater Dublin Area; however, some trains go further out to commuter towns around Dublin. It has been massively improved but it is still worse than in Europe’s other major cities. Plans are underway to greatly expand the DART network. www.dublin.ie/transport/dart.htm
LIGHT RAIL - TRAM
Luas is a brand new light rail system with two lines. It is frequent and reliable. The green line runs between St. Stephen's Green and Sandyford and the red line from Connolly Station to Tallaght. Tickets can be bought at every stop or at newsagents. www.luas.ie /
Dublin has a relatively extensive network of bus lines serving the city and its suburbs. Numbering is quite confusing so be sure to get a map of Dublin Bus. Fares depend on how fare you are going but tickets can also be bought in advance at over 350 agents throughout the city or in the Tourist Center. They also run airport link, sightseeing and Nitelink tours.
Taxis can be ordered by telephone, at ranks or hailed in the street. They are expensive and during the weekends and late at nights they are hard to find.
Dublin is a relatively cycle-friendly city. You can rent a bicycle for getting around outside the strict city center. There are red cycle lanes throughout the city. Never leave your bicycle outside over the night – bike theft is a big problem.
Driving in Dublin, especially in the city center, is not recommended. Traffic is heavy, the city has a complex system of one-way streets and parking is a nightmare. There are clampers at work, car hire is expensive and there are numerous car thefts.
Catch a game of hurling or Gaelic football, unique Irish sports. Hurling is the fastest field sport with the ball, according to the Guinness Book of World records. The ball can reach the speed over 80 mph. Gaelic football is a mixture of soccer and rugby. Each county of Ireland has its own team, maintained on amateur status in order to keep the sport pure.
Address: College Green Phone: (0)1 896 1000 Open: 8:00 am-10:00 pm Web: www.tcd.ie
This is Ireland’s oldest university, established in 1592 by Queen Elizabeth I. Among its famous students are such great names as Oscar Wilde, Jonathan Swift, and Samuel Beckett. The complex features magnificent buildings, beautiful green lawns, cobbled squares and the campus of the University of Ireland. The College Collonades Gallery features The Book of Kells, dating from the 8 th century, which is considered the oldest book in the world and is one of Dublin’s biggest attractions.
Dublin castle was built in 1204 as a fortress ordered by Kong John. It was rebuilt and restructured many times. The only remnant of the original structure is the Norman Tower. The castle was handed to the Irish Free State only in 1922 and thus it symbolized the English rule for 700 years. The essential sights include: the magnificent gilded State Apartments still used today for state occasions, a throne donated by Kong William of Orange, the Chapel Royal, the formal gardens, the Crypt Theater, and Chester Beatty Museum.
NATIONAL MUSEUM OF IRELAND
Address: Kildare Street Web: www.museum.ie Open: Tuesday - Saturday: 10:00 am – 5:00 pm, Sunday: 2:00 pm – 5:00 pm Access: Bus 7, 7a, 10, 11, 13
The museum houses treasures of Ireland from ancient times to the 20 th century. The most important artifacts are the Ardagh Chalice dating back to 800 A.D. considered the best example of Celtic art ever found and the Tara Brooch believed to be made for the leading Celt in the court of the Irish kings. The museum also houses one of the world’s largest collections of Bronze Age gold and a fragment of what is said to be the true cross. There is also a collection of artifacts dating from Ireland’s struggle for independence from 1916 to 1922.
CHRIST CHURCH CATHEDRAL
Address: Christ Church Pl Open: daily: 10:00 am - 5:00 pm Web: www.cccdub.ie
The church dates back to 11 th century and is the oldest building in Dublin. It lies in heart of medieval Dublin and was built on the site of older wooden Viking church. It was extensively restored in the 19 th century. Among t he most interesting sights are the crypt which predates the church itself, the Baroque tomb of the Earl of Kildare, the Chapel of St Laud and Lady Chapel.
Dublin is not exactly a world-renowned gastronomic hub, its staples are potatoes, cabbage, and fat bacon. However, over the last few years things have improved. There has been a new approach to the traditional Irish cuisine with the addition of organic produce and seafood.
Recently, Dublin has gained a wide range of restaurants catering to all tastes; but most of them are extremely expensive for European standards. Main course can cost from 10 to 40 EUR. Wine in restaurants usually costs three times the retail price.
You can find good Irish pub food at the Porterhouse Pub ( 16-18 Parliament Street; Phone: 671 5715; Web: www.porterhousebrewco.com).
There are many good-value Indian restaurants around the South William Street area, parallel to Grafton Street. They often have lunch specials and 'early bird' deals, offering 3 course meals for around 10 EUR.
The celebration lasts for six days and has a varied program of events. There is Irish music, dance, performances and games. The grand finale is the spectacular street parade featuring colorful floats, marching bands and thousands of revelers.
Bloomsday festival celebrates James Joyce’s most famous novel ‘Ulysses’. It is a tale of Leopold Bloom and his adventures on June 16, 1904. The festival events include readings, performances, breakfasts, look-alike contests and the most fervent fans can spend the day retracing the steps of book’s protagonist, Leopold Bloom.
Dublin Fringe Festival (DFF) is Ireland's leading multi-disciplinary festival of contemporary performing arts, providing an annual platform for the most innovative and fresh theatre, visual arts and more.
STREET PERFORMANCE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
Date: mid June Location: Dublin City center; various. Web: www.spwc.ie
Tens of thousands of people flock to see amazing acts over the two days of the festival. This is Dublin’s very own fun, free festival. Check the web for more details.
The festival is located in Dublin’s Cultural Quarter, Temple Bar. It celebrates Irish traditional culture, with primary focus on traditional music, but other aspects of Irish culture are covered as well, such as story-telling, literature, film and dance.
Dublin has a vibrant night life. Especially well known is the area of Temple Bar which was renovated and made into a pedestrian zone. With its cobbled streets and beautiful houses it forms a charming backdrop for the numerous small shops, traditional pubs, trendy clubs, theaters as well as street musicians.
The area south east of Stephen’s Green is known for most popular night clubs and pubs.
Traditional Irish pubs are very popular spots. The city has around 1,000 pubs and most have been thoroughly modernized, so don’t expect seeing too many elderly men sipping their pints in them.
The pubs close at 11:30 pm on weekdays, and on 12:30 on Fridays, Saturdays or nights before a bank holiday. Most people, however, head to the pub only around 10 pm.
Dublin was first mentioned by the Greek astronomer and cartographer Ptolemy around the year A.D. 140. The official date of establishment is, however, 988. The first settlers were Norman Vikings. In the 9 th century the town was captured by the Danes but the Irish rebelled and seized control on several occasions during the next three centuries. The Danes were finally driven away in 1171 by the Anglo–Normans led by Henry II, king of England. The area controlled by the English was relatively small; stretching only a few hundred miles around Dublin. It was called The Pale. Throughout the Middle Ages Dublin continued to grow. The plague hit in 1348, the 14 th century saw an attempted invasion by the Scottish. In 1592 Elizabeth I founded the Trinity College and gave the town important educational tradition, still maintained today. Until the 17 th century Dublin was a small medieval town. But after the English Civil Wars it was taken over by Oliver Cromwell in 1649. By the end of the 17 th century the population grew due to an influx of Protestant refugees from Europe. During the next century Dublin grew enormously and became a very wealthy town. It soon became the second city of the British Empire. Due to its prosperity the city became interesting to the Protestant Ascendancy, members of the Anglo-Irish aristocracy. In 1801 the Act of Union created the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and abolished the separate Irish Parliament. This greatly reduced the importance of Dublin. The steady decline set in. In late 1840s Dublin was struck by its worst disaster: the Great Famine. Dublin, however, suffered less than the rest of the country but numerous refugees from the countryside fled to its streets. The city’s decline continued and the demand for Home Rule was getting louder. The pressure continued to rise throughout the 19 th century.
MODERN (20TH CENTURY)
Eventually, Home Rule was promised at the end of the WW I. In general people believed this promise as numerous Irish men fought on the side of the Britain. But the opposition to the British culminated in the Easter Rising in 1916, when a small number of rebels proclaimed Irish independence from the GPO – General Post Office – their headquarters. The revolt was badly planned and the Irish were soon outnumbered and jailed. The British executed numerous rebels; the leaders of the Rising became national heroes. This event brought a tide of events. Dublin was the site of fierce fighting from 1919 to 1921, especially on November 11, 1920 known as Bloody Sunday. The truce was signed on July 11, 1921 and was followed by the Treaty on December 6 which ensured a limited independence of a greater part of Ireland – Irish Free State. The island, however, was divided: six Ulster counties in the north remained under the British rule. This triggered the Civil War 1922-23. Dublin was badly hurt during the fighting. Many fine buildings were demolished. During WW II Ireland remained neutral, Dublin was not bombed by the Germans, but the fighting within continued. In 1947 the Free State became the Republic of Ireland and left the Commonwealth.
After WW II, Ireland found itself in a state of economic and cultural stagnation. Many people left the countryside and even more left Ireland altogether. Ireland opened itself up only in the 1960s and the world-spread cultural changes were felt there also. However, the years from 1969 to late 1990s were marked by civil conflict called the Troubles. Dublin was mostly unaffected, except for occasional violence in the 1970s and 1980s. In the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s Dublin was faced with a serious drug problem. Heroin use invaded poor working classes and thus only aggravated the social conditions of poor housing, unemployment and poverty. The problem is dealt with today with methadone programs and better economic prospects for younger people but it is far from over.
Dublin ’s real transformation can be seen from the late 1990s onward when the ‘Celtic Tiger’ economic boom took effect. The city has seen much building activity, particularly the office blocks and apartments. This new prosperity also brought in a new wave of tourism. In 2000 the Millennium Bridge was open. Dublin is today a rapidly expanding city with over one million inhabitants and an increasingly multi-racial population. In 2003 the 120 m Dublin Spire was erected as a replacement for the destroyed Nelson’s Pillar. The Spire is Dublin’s tallest structure.
Greet everyone with a firm handshake, men, women and even children – at a social as well as business meeting. Shake hands again when leaving. The Irish are not very physically demonstrative and are not comfortable with public displays of affection. Also, loud, aggressive, and arrogant behavior is not well accepted. In smaller towns it is customary to say Hello to everyone you meet.
Tip at least 10% at a restaurant. In the bill for bigger groups, a tip is usually already included. Tip hotel porters €1 a bag and round up when paying a taxi driver.
When visiting someone’s home, bring a small gift for your hosts, such as flowers, chocolate, cheese, or wine. Don’t give expensive or flashy gifts. It is polite to refuse a gift when it's first offered to you, and expect the same thing when you are giving a gift to someone.
Ireland vs. England
Do not confuse IRELAND WITH ENGLAND. The Irish are proud of their cultural differences, so stay away from any comments which may be seen as offensive. Also, it is advisable not to discuss religion, as this is a sensitive subject to many.
It is customary to buy drinks for people. It is common to send a drink via bartender if someone has done you a favor. Also, it is common to buy drinks for musicians playing in a pub.
Dublin is, generally speaking, a safe city. However, recently there has been an increase in petty theft: purse snatching, pick pocketing, and car break-ins. Travelers should practice usual precaution. Hide your wallet, do not leave anything visible in your car and do not wander into deserted, shabby and dark areas. Do not go to the Phoenix Park at night and avoid Dolphin’s Barn at all times. Dublin has a serious drug problem so visitors are advised to avoid the deprived residential areas at night.
Walking in the city is generally safe but after midnight when city’s many bars and pubs close, drunks overflow the streets. It is best to take a cab at that time, as opposed to taking a bus. In general, you should not encounter problems.
Emergency phone numbers: Police, fire, ambulance: 999 or 112
In summer the weather is pleasant and days are long; it is bright until 10:00 pm in June and July. However, the prices are high and the crowds are big. It is probably best to visit Ireland in the months before or after summer. Winters are wet and cool but never cold. Snowfall is rare.
If you wish to visit Dublin during St. Patrick’s Day make your reservations well in advance.