Dublin was founded by the Vikings who came around 840AD and settled at this strategic location on River Liffey as it flows into the sea, although there was probably smaller settlements there well before that.
It has been the capital of Ireland more or less continuously since.
Main image: Dublin Quays by Darragh Sherwin
Much of the fabric of the modern day city centre dates back to the 17th century when large parts of the city were rebuilt in formal Georgian style.
However while the centre is still relatively compact, and easy for visitors to walk around, massive growth has seen the city spread out into neighbouring counties, with satellite and commuter towns growing fast and leading to a degree of urban sprawl that means that almost half of the population of Ireland now essentially live in Dublin.
It can get very crowded with both people and traffic. Dublin is visited by a very large proportion of tourists and that too can lead to quite crowded attractions during the high season.
However the city has all that a good capital should offer – lots of entertainment, good places to eat and drink, great shopping and of course history and culture at every turn.
Essential Places to see in Dublin
The list of places to see in Dublin is long (see links on the right), but these are the ones that everyone who visits the city should make a special effort to include.
Trinity College is right in the heart of Dublin but stepping though its gates is to leave the city behind. Just strolling though the quadrangles and playing fields is a pleasure, but the real must-see here is the beautiful Book of Kells in the old library.
Both the National Museum in Kildare St., and its branch in the old Collins Barracks, which concentrates on the decorative arts, are free to enter and will give any visitor a good overview of the varied phases in Ireland’s history.
Kilmainham Goal was the scene of some of the most tragic as well as the most ignoble episodes in Ireland’s past. Taking a guided tour is essential here, it will change the way you view Irish history and especially our tortured relationship with England and the English.
In contrast to the above places the remarkable collection at the Chester Beatty Library takes an international view. It collection of sacred art, ancient book and Oriental objects is extraordinary and well worth seeing. As a bonus it has a really good restaurant and is located in Dublin Castle, also worth seeing.
Click on any map marker for details of places to visit and things to do in Dublin.