Dublin City

Click for a larger picture

[Dublin City] - [Points of Interest] - [Commerce & Industry] - [Historical information] - [Trinity College] - [Temple Bar]


Dublin (Gaelic: Baile Átha Cliath, "Town of the Ford of the Hurdles"), capital, county borough, and seaport of the Republic of Ireland, in Leinster Province. It is at the mouth of the Liffey River, on Dublin Bay, an inlet of the Irish Sea. The city is linked by ship services with Cork, Ireland; Belfast, Northern Ireland, and various ports in England, Scotland, and France.

The city occupies a generally flat site, which is bisected in an eastern and western direction by the Liffey. The river is spanned by ten bridges, notably O'Connell's Bridge, which links the main thoroughfares of the city. Except in its southwestern portion, where the streets are narrow and crooked, Dublin is well laid out, with broad avenues and spacious squares. These are especially numerous in the southeastern and northeastern quarters, which also contain many stately old mansions. Circular Drive, a boulevard about 14 km (about 9 mi) long, extends along what was the periphery of the city at the end of the 19th century. Since then, the city limits have been considerably extended. The port area, confined to the lower reaches of the Liffey, has quays and basins open to larger vessels. Two canals, the Royal (154 km/96 mi) and the Grand (335 km/208 mi), provide connections between the port area and the northern and southern branches of the Shannon River.

Dublin contains several notable suburbs, including Rathmines and Rathgar, where the homes of many wealthy businesspeople of Dublin are located; Dalkey & Killiney, where many international stars live, and Glasnevin, where Joseph Addison, Jonathan Swift, Richard Brinsley Sheridan, and other well-known personalities once resided. In the cemetery of Glasnevin lie the remains of the Irish patriots Daniel O'Connell and John Philpot Curran.

Points of Interest

Many of Dublin's historic edifices are in the old section of the city, south of the Liffey. Dublin Castle (picture), the nucleus around which the modern town developed, formerly housed the offices of the British viceroy of Ireland. Most of this structure, which occupies a ridge overlooking the river, was completed in the 16th century and later, but parts of it date from early in the 13th century. In the vicinity of the castle is the Protestant cathedral of Christ Church, founded in 1038 and rebuilt from 1870 to 1877 according to the original design. Saint Patrick's Cathedral, a Gothic structure not far from Christ Church, is the largest of the many churches in Dublin and the center of the Protestant faith in the country. Sometimes called the Westminster of Ireland, the cathedral was founded in 1190 and rebuilt between 1220 and 1260. The remains of Jonathan Swift, once dean of St. Patrick's, are interred in the cathedral. The University of Dublin and the Bank of Ireland building are in the old section of Dublin. Among other public buildings of the city are the Customs House, an 18th-century structure; the Four Courts, seat of the high courts of Ireland; and Leinster House, seat of Dáil Éireann, the lower house of the bicameral national Parliament. Dublin also has a number of notable statues commemorating such famous Irish citizens as Daniel O'Connell, the statesman and orator Edmund Burke, and the writer Oliver Goldsmith.

Educational institutions in Dublin include the University of Dublin and Trinity College, a campus of the National University of Ireland. Among the excellent libraries of the city are the library of the University of Dublin, the Royal Dublin Society Library, and the National Library. Other cultural centers include the National Museum, which contains numerous Irish antiquities; the National Gallery, with valuable collections of painting and sculpture; and the Abbey Theatre.

The principal unit of the Dublin park system is Phoenix Park, in the western environs of the city. About 11 km (about 7 mi) in circumference, the site of this park encompasses part of the Liffey River valley. Besides recreational facilities, Phoenix Park contains zoological gardens, several conservatories, an arboretum, and the residence of the president of the republic.

Another place worth mentioning is St Patrick's Cathedral, the web site has a short history of the cathedral (and Swift) as well as a virtual tour and information on the present running of the cathedral.

Commerce and Industry

Predominantly a commercial city, Dublin is also the principal port and trading center of Ireland. Chief industrial establishments include breweries, distilleries, and plants producing electrical and electronic equipment, footwear, glass, pharmaceuticals, and processed foods. Some shipbuilding is carried on, and a number of foundries and automobile assembly plants are located here. Livestock, agricultural products, and local industrial manufactures constitute the principal exports.


The first known settlement on the site of Dublin was called Eblana, a name found in the writings of the 2d-century Alexandrian geographer Ptolemy. The town later appears in history as Dubh-linn (Gaelic, "Black Pool"), the inhabitants of which won (ad 291) a military victory over the armed forces of the kingdom of Leinster. Baile Átha Cliath, the present official name, is believed to have been applied to the settlement at a subsequent date.

Dublin has often figured prominently in Irish history. Its inhabitants were converted to Christianity about 450 by Patrick, later the patron saint of Ireland. The town was captured in the 9th century by the Danes. The rebellious Irish wrested control of Dublin from the Danes on a number of occasions during the next three centuries, notably in 1052, 1075, and 1124. In 1171 the Danes were expelled by the Anglo-Normans, led by Henry II, king of England. He held his court in Dublin in 1172 and later made the town a dependency of the English city of Bristol. English overlordship in Dublin remained unchallenged until 1534, when the Irish patriot Thomas Fitzgerald (1513-37) laid brief siege to the city in the course of a rebellion.

In the 17th century, during the English civil wars known as the Great Rebellion, Dublin was surrendered to English parliamentary forces to prevent the city from falling to the Irish. Dublin remained under British control until the Irish insurrection of 1798, during which an attempt to seize the city ended in failure. A second attempt in 1803, led by Robert Emmet, also ended disastrously. Further abortive insurrections occurred in Dublin in 1847 and in 1867. Dublin was the scene of some of the most severe fighting of the Irish rebellion of 1916 and of the revolution of 1919-21, which resulted in the establishment of the Irish Free State. Population (1986, greater city) 920,956.

Dublin Castle - Four Courts - (click picture for a larger display)

Trinity College Dublin

Trinity College, also know as Dublin University, is the oldest and leading institution of higher learning in Ireland. The first University of Dublin was established in 1320 in connection with Saint Patrick's Cathedral but lacked an endowment and functioned poorly, finally closing with the dissolution, by Henry VIII, of the cathedral foundation. The present foundation was chartered by Elizabeth I in 1591 as the "mother of an university" with the title of the "College of the Holy and Undivided Trinity, near Dublin." It was expected that other colleges would be formed around this nucleus, and that a university of the English type would eventually develop in its place. This expectation was never realized, and Dublin University retains to the present day the capacity to function as both a college and a university. In April 1967 the Irish government announced that it planned to merge University College, Dublin, with the University of Dublin. The plan was ultimately abandoned.

The Corporation of Dublin donated to the university the grounds and the ruins of the confiscated All Hallows monastery and a building fund was raised by local subscription. James I endowed the institution with £400 a year and the revenue of various estates in Ulster and the English army in 1601 commemorated its victory over the Spanish at Kinsale, Ireland, by subscribing £1800 to establish a library for the college. These and other local donations provided the main financial resources of the young college. The original constitution has been revised several times, although some of the early statutes are still in effect. A revision adopted in 1793 enabled Roman Catholics to take degrees. The college is headed by a provost, and the principal governing body is the board consisting of:

  1. The Provost, Vice-Provost, Senior Lecturer, Registrar and Bursar
  2. Six Fellows
  3. Five members of the academic staff who are not Fellows at least three of whom must be of a rank not higher than senior lecturer
  4. Two members of the academic staff of the rank of professor
  5. Three members of the non-academic staff
  6. Four students of the College at least one of whom shall be a post-graduate student
  7. One member not being an employee or student of the College chosen by a committee of the Board which shall comprise the Provost and two members of the Board from among nominations made by such organisations as are representative of such business or professional interest as the Board considers appropriate
  8. One member appointed by the Board on the nomination of the Minister for Education and Science following consultation with the Provost

Applicants for admission to the institution must pass an entrance examination or possess prescribed entrance qualifications. With few exceptions, every student enrolls in the 4-year bachelor of arts course, which offers a wide range of liberal arts subjects. The professional schools offer courses and degrees in divinity, law, medicine, dentistry, veterinary medicine, engineering, business management, music, education, and social studies. The degrees of master and doctor are awarded as higher degrees. Women have been eligible for degrees since 1904 and are eligible for all university appointments and offices on the same basis as men. The first woman fellow was elected in 1968.

The university buildings include fine examples of the 18th-century architecture for which Dublin is noted, particularly the library (1732), the dining hall (1761), and the public theater (1791). The library houses a notable collection of old Irish illuminated manuscripts, including the Gospels transcribed in the 7th-century Book of Durrow and the unique 8th-century Book of Kells. Since 1801 the college has been entitled by law to receive a copy of every book published in Great Britain and Ireland. Among former students of the university were the Irish philosopher George Berkeley, the English satirist Jonathan Swift, the British statesman Edmund Burke, and the Anglo-Irish playwright Oliver Goldsmith.

See also University College Dublin (UCD).

Temple Bar

This trendy area of Dublin has its own homepage, so I decided it wasn't worth my while doing my own piece on it. Instead you can just click here to go directly to their homepage (which isn't great).

Further Information

For a more in depth look at Dublin click here for an external link.