Dublin (Baile Átha Cliath) is the capital of the Republic of Ireland. The city is the largest industrial and commercial center in the country. Furthermore, it is also the largest and most populated inhabited center of the whole island. Its metropolitan area reaches almost two million inhabitants. The city overlooks the Irish Sea along the east coast of the island at the mouth of the River Liffey and is an important port.
Dublin has a long tradition as an artistic and cultural center. Since the end of the 16th century it has housed a university. And today it has also become an important tourist destination, full of museums and interesting architectural attractions. It is also, thanks to its international airport, the main entry point into the country.
Formerly known by the name of Eblana, it was Christianized around 450 AD. from St. Patrick. During the Middle Ages it was a strategic settlement of the Vikings on the Irish Sea. Conquered by the British in 1171 Dublin became the capital of English Ireland. The city remained uninterruptedly linked to the English domination until the birth of the Republic of Ireland, in 1922, when it became its capital.
WHAT TO SEE: DUBLIN’S MAIN ATTRACTIONS
The city today has large roads and numerous green spaces. Its origins date back to the 13th century, when the famous Dublin Castle was founded. The medieval city developed around this fortification, of which few buildings remain today. Among these, in addition to the Castle, we can mention the Cathedral (Christ Church Cathedral), the Church-Cathedral of St. Patrick and the Church of St. Audoen.
BUILDINGS IN NEOCLASSIC STYLE
Dublin’s main historic buildings are in neoclassical style. This gives the city a monumental and modern appearance. Dublin’s three main buildings, the Castle, Christ Church Cathedral and St. Patrick’s Cathedral, are all a legacy of English colonial rule. The two cathedrals are Protestant although 95% of the city’s population is Catholic.
Dublin Castle is located on the southern bank of the Liffey River. It was built in 1204, and became the seat of the Norman Lordship of Ireland. Subsequently of the Kingdom of Ireland and then from 1801 to 1922 of the Irish Parliament for the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.
THE CATHEDRALS OF DUBLIN
Christ Church Cathedral was built between the 11th and 12th centuries, in the Norman style, and was completely restored between 1871 and 1878. Inside is the tomb of the Norman conqueror Strongbow (who died in the 12th century), however, the structure of the present tomb dates back to the 14th century. The Cathedral of St. Patrick, was built in the thirteenth century, inside, there is the tomb of Jonathan Swift and the Boyle family.
THE TRINITY COLLEGE
Trinity College is famous, its foundation dates back to 1592, most of Ireland’s illustrious historical figures studied in this college. The college’s Old Library contains over 200,000 historical volumes, including the famous Book of Kells (8th-9th century gospel book). While other treasures, such as Brian Boru’s Harp (Gaelic harp from the 15th century, symbol of Ireland), are displayed in the Long Room. In the heart of the medieval city is the 12th century St Audoen Church, the only parish church left in Dublin. This church has a beautiful Norman portal, above the church there is also the only existing section of the medieval walls of Dublin.
THE PALACE OF PARLIAMENT
Another interesting building in Dublin is the Irish Parliament Building, a building built in the neoclassical style in the 18th century. In the Northside of Dublin, in Phoenix Park, there is Áras an Uachtará, the Irish presidential residence, a residence of the mid-18th century.
At the end of the seventeenth century and throughout the second half of the eighteenth century, with the spread of classicism, construction activity became particularly intense in Dublin. Some of the greatest English architects were active in the city, such as W. Chambers and J. Gandon, and numerous local architects. The character of the city is also due to the numerous Georgian houses with brick facades, stone portals, gates and wrought iron balconies. Dublin indeed has some of the most beautiful examples of Georgian and Victorian architecture in the British Isles. Fitzwilliam Square is in the center of the Georgian neighborhood, with characteristic brick houses. Two more are the squares to visit in the neighborhood: Merrion Square and St. Stephen Green. George Bernard Shaw’s Abbey Theater, founded in 1904, is also worth a visit.
THE MUSEUMS OF DUBLIN
Dublin has an interesting museum offer, in addition to the large collections of the National Museum, the National Gallery and the Irish Museum of Modern Art, the city also boasts numerous private collections of undoubted value.
The National Gallery of Ireland, one of the most important museums in the city, presents a collection of around 2,500 paintings and over 10,000 works of art including sculptures, watercolors, prints and sketches. The National Museum of Ireland is a museum divided into several sections dedicated to Decorative Arts and History (Decorative Arts & History), Natural History (Natural History) and Archeology and History (Archeology & History). The Irish Museum of Modern Art, is the main Irish museum dedicated to modern and contemporary art.
Also interesting are: the National Print Museum (illustrates the history of printing in Ireland). Dublin’s City Hall – The Story of the Capital Exhibition (dedicated to the history of the city of Dublin). The Chester Beatty Library (houses a rich collection of manuscripts, prints, icons, miniatures and old books). The Dublin Writers Museum (museum dedicated to the numerous and famous Irish writers including Swift, Sheridan, Shaw, Wilde, Yeats, Joyce and Beckett). The Guinness Storehouse, a museum that tells the story of the most famous Irish beer, is one of the main attractions of the city.