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Although its roots date to Viking times, Ireland’s largest city has embraced modernity to become one of Europe’s most vibrant capitals. The River Liffey flows through its Georgian core, straddled by a dozen bridges, and the compact city center facilitates exploration on foot. Trendy boutiques and inviting teashops line pedestrian-only Grafton Street, which links Trinity College with leafy St Stephen’s Green. The nearby National Museum and National Gallery display troves of Celtic artifacts and masterpieces by Ireland’s best artists. And everywhere, more than 1,000 pubs beckon with the promise of a pint of creamy Guinness and the kind of spirited banter immortalized by James Joyce and Sean O’Casey.
For a while, it seemed like Ireland's capital city would keep climbing the global cities index indefinitely, not stopping till it overtook all the commercial, industrial, and tourist centers of the West. That dropped off a bit in 2009, but Dublin's still a top-tier metropolis, from über-hip Temple Bar to highly respected Trinity College to its status as headquarters of the International Rugby Board. The city is located at the mouth of the River Liffey; the river divides its north and south sides. Landmarks include the Spire, Dublin Castle, Kilmainham Gaol, and the Guinness Storehouse.In addition to its commercial cachet, Dublin has always been a hotbed of creative talent: Writers like James Joyce and poets including William Butler Yeats are part of the city's literary legacy, while famous Dublin actors include Colin Farrell and Gabriel Byrne. Oh, and as for music? There's this little band called U2...
From the city that gave us James Joyce (Ulysses, Dubliners) and Guinness Stout, you would expect nothing less than the first, the best and the most. In Ireland, Dublin is all of those.
For the record, Dublin is the site of Ireland's oldest university (Trinity College), oldest park (St. Stephen's Green) and oldest theater (the Gaiety); it is home to the National Museum, the National Gallery and the national government; and it houses Ireland's most famous treasure (the eighth-century The Book of Kells), most famous churches (St. Patrick's Cathedral and Christ Church Cathedral) and most famous beer (Guinness, of course).
Dublin is Ireland's capital and by far its largest city, with a population of about 500,000 (with close to 1 million in the metropolitan area). The nation's largest port, it is on the central east coast on the Irish Sea.
It is a compact city (44 square miles) that can be toured largely on foot, but that doesn't mean it can be toured quickly. There's just too much to see and do. Just to visit the former houses of Dublin's literary figures (Joyce, Samuel Beckett, William Butler Yeats, George Bernard Shaw and Bram Stoker, to name a few) would take a full day.
In addition to the landmarks and attractions above, must-see places include Four Courts (seat of Ireland's judiciary), Custom House, Dublin Castle, the Abbey Theatre and Phoenix Park (the largest walled park in Europe).
Other highlights are the New Modern Art Museum, the Irish Viking Adventure Center, the Museum of Childhood and the Chester Beatty Library and Gallery of Oriental Art. Of course, if you're looking for less cerebral pursuits, Dublin is filled with places to shop, listen to music or down a beer. Be sure to make it a Guinness.