Dublin or Baile Atha Cliath was originally, a Viking settlement, the long ships arrived in around 837 AD and the invaders decided the location was the perfect place to settle and so they remained. By the early 900’s Dublin was the Viking world’s largest City and it was trading as far abroad as Constantinople. Over time the Vikings had become assimilated into Irish culture and were considered citizens, they fought for Irish kings, married Irish women and even converted to Christianity.
History of Dublin
The name Dublin is literally translated as black pool, but the Gaelic name is The Gaelic ‘Baile Atha Cliath’, which means ‘town of the hurdle ford’. The Vikings had built a bank of wooden hurdles across the Liffey and it is from this that the name was born.
Dublin is the capital of Ireland and it is home to more than one-fourth of the country’s total population. Estimates of the population of Dublin put 50% of its residents under the age of 25, which makes it one of the most youthful cities in Europe. It is likely that due to this youthful influence Dublin boasts a vibrant nightlife and a creative energy that has led to it becoming a centre of culture, music and art.
The City has long had a strong commitment to the arts, theatre and of course literature. Many notable literary luminaries have been influenced and developed in Dublin. George Bernard Shaw, William Butler Yeats, Bram Stoker, Oscar Wilde, Jonathon Swift and James Joyce. The City boasts a long line of writers, poets and playwrights that have had a deeply felt influence on the literary arts over the centuries.
Dublin is also home to a wonderful variety of Museums, Universities, and of course Sports. From the little known outside of Ireland Hurling matches to the Irish football and rugby teams the Irish are well known as good sports and great “craic” when supporting their sports teams both abroad and in Ireland.
The main river that flows through Dublin is the Liffey, but there are several others that flow into the Liffey. One Dublin river that has become invisible over the years is called the Poddle. The Poddle is hidden today and flows beneath the city but in times past this river was an open source of water and used extensively by citizens of Dublin. In fact the name Dublin or “Dark Pool” was given to the area thanks to the black pool created where the Liffey and the Poddle jointed together. For centuries the Poddle, caused regular flooding and a special commission was set up to deal with the issues caused by the river. Culverts were built and the river eventually moved underground through Dublin and the Liffey became the River everyone knows.
The River Liffey acts as a dividing line in Dublin it is the river that musicians and poets have written about and a key feature in the Dublin landscape but it also acts as a divider for the City. Northern Dublin is primarily working class and the Southern side is middle and upper class. The neighborhoods in Dublin include the Trinity College area, which is home to the University. This area is full of bookshops, quaint shopping districts and lots of tourists. Trinity lies just south of the Liffey in the centre of the City. Temple Bar is the centre of nightlife for Dublin Baile Atha Cliath. Temple Bar is home to nightclubs, pubs, wine bars, theatres, comedy clubs and art museums. Temple Bar is frequented by young people and you may feel a little old if you are over 25.
DUBLIN A GUIDE TO ITS NEIGHBOURHOODS
The Old City is where to experience the history of Dublin. The Churches and historic monuments will keep the ardent historian entranced for hours. Viking history and medieval history intertwine with that of rebellions, ancient Kings and wild Celts.
If you are looking for a more up market area, Ballsbridge is within walking distance of the city center. This area is home to many restaurants, luxury hotels and has the highest concentration of embassies, including the U.S. Ballsbridge is known as the highest price neighborhood in Ireland featuring million dollar addresses. It is also, for some unknown reason, the area for Rugby, nowhere else in Dublin will you see the number of Rugby Clubs as there is in Ballsbridge.
The Liberties is located adjacent to the Old City district, It is home to some of Dublin’s most historic and popular attractions from Dublinia to the Guinness Storehouse. The area encompasses some of Dublin’s best markets including Meath Street and Thomas Street and some of the best art galleries in the city make their home here.
O’Connell Street is Dublin’s most famous street, home to the historic General Post Office where you can still see the bullet holes from the Easter uprising to the modern “Spire” said to be the world’s tallest freestanding sculpture. O’Connell street is considered one of Europe’s’ widest urban streets and is home to some impressive architecture and great shopping.
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