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Your Are Here - Home > Counties > Dublin County > Dublin City
Dublin (Irish: Baile Átha Cliath, meaning ‘Town of the Hurdled Ford’) is both the largest city and capital of Ireland. It is located near the midpoint of Ireland's east coast, at the mouth of the River Liffey and at the centre of the Dublin Region. Founded as a Viking settlement, the city has been Ireland's primary city for most of the island's history since medieval times. Today, it is an economic, administrative and cultural centre for the island of Ireland and has one of the fastest growing populations of any European capital city

The name Dublin is a Hiberno-English derivative of 'Dubh Linn' (Irish, dubh -> black, and linn -> pool). Historically, in the traditional Gaelic script used for the Irish language, 'bh' was written with a dot over the 'b', viz 'Du Linn' or 'Dulinn'. Those without a knowledge of Irish omitted the dot and spelled the name variously as 'Develyn' or 'Dublin'.

The common name for the city in Modern Irish is 'Baile Átha Cliath' ('The Settlement of the Ford of the Reed Hurdles'). It was first written as such in 1368 in the Annals of Ulster. 'Áth Cliath' is a place-name referring to a fording point of the Liffey in the vicinity of Heuston Station. 'Baile Átha Cliath' was later applied to an early Christian monastery which is believed to have been situated in the area of Aungier Street currently occupied by Whitefriar Street Carmelite Church.

The subsequent Viking settlement was on the River Poddle, a tributary of the Liffey, to the East of Christchurch, in the area known as Wood Quay. The Dubh Linn was a lake used by the Vikings to moor their ships and was connected to the Liffey by the Poddle. The Dubh Linn and Poddle were covered during the early 1700s, and as the city expanded they were largely forgotten about. The Dubh Linn was situated where the Castle Garden is now located, opposite the Chester Beatty Library in Dublin Castle.

History
The modern city retains the Anglicised Irish name of the former and the original Irish name of the latter. After the Norman invasion of Ireland, Dublin became the key centre of military and judicial power, with much of the power centering on Dublin Castle until independence. From the 14th to late 16th centuries, English crown control over Ireland was limited to a section of territory, known as the Pale, which included Dublin at its southern end, and Dundalk at its northern extremity. The Parliament was located in Drogheda for several centuries, but was switched permanently to Dublin after Henry VII conquered the County Kildare in 1504. The sacking of Drogheda, and massacre of her citizens, by Oliver Cromwell, in 1649, resulted in Dublin becoming the dominant port city in Ireland.

Dublin also had local city administration via its Corporation from the Middle Ages. This represented the city's guild-based oligarchy until it was reformed in the 1840s on increasingly democratic lines.

From the 17th century the city expanded rapidly, helped by the Wide Streets Commission. Georgian Dublin was, for a short time, the second city of the British Empire after London and the fifth largest European city. Much of Dublin's most notable architecture dates from this time and is considered a golden era for the city. In 1749, the relocation of the Guinness brewery from Leixlip, to St.James Gate, resulted in a considerable economic impact for the city, which is felt to this day. For much of the time since its foundation, the Guinness Brewery was the largest employer in the city. In 1742 Handel's "Messiah" was performed for the first time in New Musick Hall in Fishamble Street with 26 boys and five men from the combined choirs of St.Patrick's and Christ Church cathedrals participating.

After 1800, with the seat of government moving to Westminster, Dublin entered a period of decline. Dublin was still the centre of administration and a transport hub for much of Ireland. Dublin did not feature in the Industrial revolution, which was concentrated in Belfast, and had a minor role Derry, Cork

The Easter Rising of 1916 took place in several parts of the city, bringing much physical destruction to the city centre. The Anglo-Irish War and Irish Civil War contributed even more destruction, leaving some of its finest buildings in ruins. The Irish Free State government rebuilt the city centre and located the Dáil (parliament) in Leinster House.

The formation of the new state, resulted in changed fortunes for Dublin. It benefitted more from independence than any Irish city, though it took a long time to become obvious. Through The Emergency (World War II), until the 1960s, Dublin remained a capital out of time: the city centre in particular remained at an architectural standstill, even nicknamed the last 19th Century City of Europe. This made the city ideal for historical film production, with many productions including The Blue Max, and My Left Foot capturing the cityscape in this period. This became the foundation of later successes in cinematography and film-making. With increasing prosperity, modern architecture was introduced to the city, though a vigorous campaign started in parallel to restore the Georgian greatness of Dublin's streets, rather than lose the grandeur forever. Since 1997, the landscape of Dublin has changed immensely, with enormous private sector and state development of housing, transport, and business. (See also Development and Preservation in Dublin). Some well-known Dublin street corners are still named for the pub or business which used to occupy the site before closure or redevelopment.

From 1922, following the partition of Ireland, 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.


Attractions
The city 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 from Dublin include Oscar Wilde, Jonathan Swift and the creator of Dracula, Bram Stoker. It is arguably most famous, however, as the location of the greatest works of James Joyce. Dubliners is a collection of short stories by Joyce about incidents and characters typical of residents of the city in the early part of the 20th century. His most celebrated work, Ulysses, is also set in Dublin and full of topical detail. Additional widely celebrated writers from the city 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.

There are several theatres within the city centre, and various world famous actors have emerged from the Dublin theatrical scene, including Noel Purcell, Brendan Gleeson, Stephen Rea, Colin Farrell, Colm Meaney and Gabriel Byrne. The best known theatres include the Gaiety, the Abbey, the Olympia and the Gate. 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 Avante Guarde works. The largest theatre is the Mahony Hall in The Helix at Dublin City University in Glasnevin.

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 A.D. 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 B.C. 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.

There is a vibrant nightlife in Dublin and it is reputedly one of the most youthful cities in Europe - with estimates of 50% of inhabitants being younger than 25. Furthermore in 2007, it was voted the friendliest city in Europe. Like the rest of Ireland, there are pubs right across the city centre. The area around St. Stephen's Green - especially Harcourt Street, Camden Street, Wexford Street and Leeson Street - is a centre for some of the most popular nightclubs and pubs in Dublin.

Dublin is a popular shopping spot for both Irish people and tourists. Dublin city centre has several shopping districts, including Grafton Street, Henry Street, Stephen's Green Shopping Centre, Jervis Shopping Centre, and the newly refurbished Ilac Shopping Centre. On Grafton Street, the most famous shops include Brown Thomas and its sister shop BT2, being akin to Bloomingdales in New York City, for example. Brown Thomas also contains "mini-stores" such as Hermès, Chanel and Louis Vuitton on its Wicklow Street frontage. This is Dublin's equivalent to a Designer shopping street such as Bond Street in London or 5th Avenue in New York City.

Dublin city is the location of large department stores, such as Clerys on O'Connell Street, Arnotts on Henry Street, Brown Thomas on Grafton Street and Debenhams (formerly Roches Stores) on Henry Street.

A major €750m development for Dublin city centre has been given the green light. The development of the so-called Northern Quarter will see 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, Abbey Street and Liffey Street. Following appeals to An Bord Pleanála, the scale of the development, which was to have included a sixteen-storey tower, was reduced. The redevelopment will also include 14 new cafes along with a 149-bed hotel. Prince's Street, which runs off O'Connell Street, will become a full urban street and pedestrian thoroughfare. Construction, which began in November 2008, led to the loss of 580 retail jobs. It is hoped that the Northern Quarter will open for business in 2013.

Since the mid 1990s, suburban Dublin has seen the completion of several modern retail centres. These include Dundrum Town Centre, the largest commercial centre in Europe (on the Luas Green Line), Blanchardstown Centre, The Square in Tallaght (on the Luas Red Line), Liffey Valley Shopping Centre in Clondalkin, Northside Shopping Centre in Coolock, and Pavilions Shopping Centre in Swords.


Sport
The headquarters of almost all of Ireland's sporting organisations are in Dublin, and the most popular sports in Dublin are those that are most popular throughout Ireland: Gaelic football, soccer, rugby union and hurling.

The city is host to the 4th largest stadium in Europe, Croke Park, the 82,500 capacity headquarters of the Gaelic Athletic Association. It traditionally hosts Gaelic football and hurling games during the summer months, as well as international rules football in alternating years. It also hosts concerts, with acts such as U2 and Robbie Williams having played there in recent years. The Dublin board of the Gaelic Athletic Association play their league games at Parnell Park. The nickname for the Dublin Gaelic football team is "The Dubs".

Lansdowne Road stadium (previously owned by the Irish Rugby Football Union) was the venue for home games of both the Irish Rugby Union Team and the Republic's national soccer team. Until recently, it had a mixed standing and seating capacity of 49,000. As part of a joint venture between the IRFU, the FAI and the Government, it is being redeveloped and is expected to be replaced with a 50,000 all-seater stadium by 2009. On 29th January 2009, Uefa confirmed Lansdowne Road will host the 2011 Europa League Final (UEFA Cup). During the redevelopment, rugby union and soccer home internationals are played at Croke Park.

 
 
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Dublin City
In: Dublin
People: 505,739
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Type: Captial City
GPS: -6.3572, 53.2886