Where to stay in Dublin
As a visitor to Ireland in particular Dublin its a good idea to research what and where to stay in Dublin before you get here. There are many neighbourhoods in the City ranging from central Dublin to the suburbs which can be trickier to access and get to and from. This article will give you some ideas about the various neighbourhoods and what you can expect if you plan to stay in Dublin.
History of Dublin
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.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.
Georgian Dublin the elegance of Merrion Square the tranquil beauty of St. Stephen’s Green this is a quality neighbourhood with matching prices and up market hotels. Beautiful terrace houses with fanlights the fabulous oft photographed doors of the Georgian squares in the neighbourhood. This area is also home to the Natural History Museum and the National Gallery.
The areas of Grafton Street, Temple Bar and Trinity College. An easy to walk area that consists of some fantastic 18th century architecture and the great shopping precinct of Grafton Street.
The Trinity college area is surrounded by some of Ireland’s finest neo-classical buildings and of course Trinity Library which contains the valuable Book of Kells. Temple Bar is of course the biggest tourist hangout and trap in Dublin, wander and look around but avoid buying here as the tab may give you a heart attack.
The Districts of Donnybrook and Ballsbridge in South Dublin offer some great eating and drinking establishments along with the Aviva Stadisum and the Exhibition Centre of the RDS. It feels like its far from the City but its only a short trip.
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 area of central Dublin north of the river Liffey is well worth exploring. O’Connell Street is the main boulevard of the Irish capital: it’s home to the iconic General Post Office, with its new interpretative centre exploring the 1916 Rising and its aftermath. Also in the area: contemporary and classic drama at the Abbey and Gate theatres; and a wealth of history at the National Museum of Ireland at Collins Barracks.
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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