Dublin City Bed and Breakfast Guide
Dublin (Irish: Baile Átha Cliath) 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 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. Due to its length, the Irish name is sometimes abbreviated as BÁC.
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.
Dublin seen from Spot satelliteThe writings of the Greek astronomer and cartographer Ptolemy provide perhaps the earliest reference to human habitation in the area now known as Dublin. In around A.D. 140 he referred to a settlement he called Eblana Civitas. The settlement 'Dubh Linn' dates perhaps as far back as the first century BC and later a monastery was built there, though the town was established in about 841 by the Norse. Click here to Book a B&B in County Dublin
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 Dublin and the surrounding area, known as the Pale, formed the largest area of Ireland under government control. The Parliament was located in Drogheda for several centuries, but was switched permanently to Dublin after Henry VII conquered the County Kildare in 1504.
Seat of the Lord Lieutenant and his court until 1922.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. The famous Guinness brewery was also established at this time too. 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.
The 1800s, with the seat of government moving to Westminster, were a period of decline relative to the industrial growth of Belfast; by 1900 the population of Belfast was nearly twice as large. Whereas Belfast was prosperous and industrial, Dublin had become a city of squalor and class division, built on the remains of lost grandeur, as best described in the novel Strumpet City, by James Plunkett, and in the works of Sean O'Casey. Dublin was still the primary centre of administration and transport for much of Ireland, though completely bypassed by the Industrial revolution. The Easter Rising of 1916 occurred in the city centre, bringing much physical destruction. The Anglo-Irish War and Irish Civil War contributed even more destruction, leaving many of its finest buildings in ruins.
Literature, Theatre and The Arts
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. Three centres of the National Museum of Ireland are in Dublin.
Nightlife and Entertainment
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.
The internationally best-known area for nightlife is the Temple Bar area just south of the River. It was developed as Dublin's cultural quarter, and does retain this spirit as a centre for small arts productions, photographic and artists' studios, and in the form of street performers and intimate small music venues.
Live music is popularly played on streets and at venues throughout Dublin in general and the city has produced several rock bands of international success, including U2, Hothouse Flowers, Horslips, The Boomtown Rats, Thin Lizzy, and Boyzone. The two best known cinemas in the city centre are the Savoy Cinema and the Cineworld Cinema, both north of the Liffey. Alternative and special-interest cinema can be found in the Irish Film Institute in Temple Bar, in the Screen Cinema on d'Olier Street and in the Lighthouse Cinema in Smithfield. Across suburban Dublin are located large modern multiscreen cinemas. Situated on the Liffey at the Eastlink tollbridge, the The Point Theatre is currently under renovation, but has housed world renowned performers in all fields of music.