Think Guinness, Jameson’s Whiskey and a good old knees-up at a local pub! Yes, you’ve guessed it… we’re talking about Dublin. The Irish capital is situated on a bay at the mouth of the River Liffey and bordered on the south by the Dublin Mountains. It is a vibrant city with oodles of Irish charm, attracting huge numbers of visitors each year, particularly hen and stag-do crowds, keen to sample a pint of Guinness or two! In fact, you can take a tour of the Guinness factory itself, learn how the stout is brewed, and enjoy a free pint on the upper-floor bar, which boasts breath-taking views over the city skyline.
A trip to Dublin is not complete without a visit to Dublin Castle, one of the city’s oldest landmarks. It was founded as a major defensive work on the orders of England’s King John in 1204. As with many intriguing cities, one of the best ways to take in the sights is with a bus tour – look out for the Spire of Dublin monument, the Old Library of Trinity College (which holds the world-famous Book of Kells), the statue of Molly Malone, the National Museum of Ireland, and the National Library of Ireland.
There are many green spaces around the city, but perhaps the most famous is Phoenix Park, which is one of the largest public parks in Europe. It includes large areas of grassland and tree-lines avenues, and since the 17th century, it has been home to a herd of wild fallow deer. Here you’ll find Dublin Zoo, Ashtown Castle, and the office residence of the US ambassador. During the summer months, a number of music concerts are also held in this fantastic space. Or, if shopping is more your thing, head to St Stephen’s Green and Grafton Street to get your retail fix! You’ll also find plenty of places to stop for refreshments in and around Dublin’s shopping hub.
The economic centre of Ireland, many traditional industries have their roots in Dublin, such as food processing, textile manufacturing and brewing. However, the nineties saw a shift, with large numbers of global pharmaceutical, ICT and financial companies setting up premises in the city and Greater Dublin Area. These included Microsoft, Google, Amazon, eBay, PayPal, Yahoo!, Facebook, Twitter and Accenture. The presence of these companies has driven economic expansion, with Dublin becoming one of the world’s leading data centre hotspots and sometimes referred to as the ‘tech capital of Europe’. Furthermore, the city is host to half of the world’s top 50 banks and to half of the top 20 insurance companies hence its low unemployment rating compared to other regions.
The M50 is Dublin’s principal motorway, which runs around the south, west and north of the city, and connects important national primary routes to the rest of the country. Congestion can be a problem, so one of the best ways to get around is by bus, thanks to a network of around 200 bus routes covering the city and its suburbs. Alternatively, cycling has increased in popularity, as a result of the Dublinbikes bike rental scheme and the provision of safe cycle lanes. Dublin also has two railway stations serving the Greater Dublin Area and commuter towns, a busy port with ferries to Holyhead and beyond, and an international airport, offering both long and short-haul services.
Dublin is a historical and contemporary centre of education, home to four universities, as well as many other higher education, secondary education and primary education institutions. The University of Dublin is the oldest university in Ireland, dating from the 16th century. Its solve constituent college, Trinity College, was established by Royal Charter in 1592 under Elizabeth I. Other institutions include the National University of Ireland, Technological University Dublin, Dublin City University, the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland and the National College of Art and Design.
House prices in Dublin are unsurprisingly high – it is one of the most expensive places to live in Ireland. That said, house prices for your average three-bedroom semi-detached house in the capital have recently dropped. Many entertainers hail from Dublin including Sinéad O’Connor, Bob Geldof, Colin Farrell, Pierce Brosnan, Boyzone, Westlife, U2, and The Script.