Dublin is the largest city and capital of Ireland. It lies at the head of Dublin Bay, midway down the country's east coast and is protected by the beautiful Howth Peninsula in the north and the rocky coastline to Killiney in the south.
The Vikings originally founded Dublin over 1000 years ago. They established Dublin as a garrison town and a trading post, although it only received its current name in the 12th century.
Much of Dublin's history is centered on its relationship with England. Tensions between the two countries reached a climax in the early 20th century and, in 1921, Ireland became a republic with Dublin being chosen as the place for the new Irish Parliament.
Dublin is a city of contrasts, a mixture of elegance and dilapidation, of historical beauty and contemporary design. The city is divided into two by the River Liffey. Alongside the Liffey are beautiful Georgian facades of the Custom House and the Four Courts as well as the Christchurch Cathedral, Halfpenny Bridge and beautiful parklands.
Although the city has a population of over 1.7 million, it is not particularly large and most people get around by foot. It has a well integrated transport system including a light rail tram system known as the Luas and a rapid transit system called the DART. There is also a network of buses run by Dublin Buses throughout the city, although these can be slightly confusing at times for the uninitiated tourist.
The city's many historic buildings, parks, shops and bars attract an invasion of visitors from around the world. In recent years, Dublin's economy has boomed and this has resulted in many areas being rejuvenated and historical buildings and sites restored.
Dublin is also famous for its pubs and there is certainly no shortage of these. Many have kept their traditional styles and they are great places to go and soak up the friendly Dublin atmosphere.
Some of the most popular places to visit include Trinity College where the Book of Kells is kept, Dublin Castle, Marsh's Library, the Guinness Storehouse, Kilmainham Gaol, where many of Ireland's freedom fighters were jailed and executed and the cultural quarter of Temple Bar.
Dublin also has a great range of shops with the main shopping precincts being Grafton Street, Henry Street and Georges Street, including the Georges Street Arcade with its indoor market. There are also a number of excellent department stores including Arnotts and the Jervis Street Shopping Centre. Weekly markets include Temple Bar Food Market, Temple Bar Book Market and Designer Mart at Cow's Lane. Dublin's shops cater for everyone.
Dublin's nightlife is second to none, with a multitude of pubs, restaurants and live theater including the famous Abbey Theatre. The pubs come alive at night with many playing traditional Irish music.
Dubliners love their national sports. Croke Park is the largest sports stadium in Ireland and is the home of the Gaelic Athletic Association. Tours of the park are conducted on a regular basis.
Within a short distance from Dublin are more historical sites. The prehistoric megalithic sites of Newgrange and Knowth tombs are located about 50 kilometers from Dublin. Ardgillan Castle, set in beautiful parklands, is also close by. For a quieter attraction away from the hustle and bustle of Dublin, there is Howth Peninsular and Ireland's Eye which are only about 15 kilometers north of Dublin and serviced by Dublin public transport.
Dublin is a great historical city, full of charm, elegance, museums, pubs, great shops and restaurants with the added bonus of friendly, welcoming people.