Ireland in a few facts
|Country profile:||Constitutional democracy / member of the European Union|
|Population:||4.5 million (UN, 2011)|
|President:||Michael D Higgins since October 2011|
|Land area:||70,182 km² (27,097 sq miles)|
|Coastline:||2,797 km (1,738 miles)|
|Time zone:||UTC/GMT +1 hour|
|International dialing code:||+353|
Dublin is the capital city of Ireland and one of Europe’s oldest cities. The English name for the city is derived from the Irish name Dubhlinn, meaning "black pool". Dublin is situated near the midpoint of Ireland's east coast, at the mouth of the River Liffey and the centre of the Dublin Region.
Its vibrancy, nightlife and tourist attractions are noteworthy, and it is the most popular entry point for international visitors to Ireland. As a city, it is disproportionately large for the size of the country (2011 population Greater Dublin Region is 1.8 million); and well over a quarter of the Republic's population lives in the metropolitan area. The centre is, however, relatively small and can be navigated by foot, with most of the population living in suburbs.
Originally founded as a Viking settlement, it evolved into the Kingdom of Dublin and became the island's principal city following the Norman invasion. The city expanded rapidly from the 17th century; it was briefly the second largest city in the British Empire and the fifth largest in Europe. Dublin entered a period of stagnation following the Act of Union of 1800, but it remained the economic centre for most of the island. Following the partition of Ireland in 1922, Dublin became the capital of the Irish Free State and later the Republic of Ireland.
As well as retaining its historical and cultural charms, Dublin offers trendy bars, elegant restaurants and stylish, cosmopolitan shops and hotels. There’s never been a better time to visit Dublin, a city that is rivaling Europe’s elite for hip appeal.
Must see attractions
Even if you have just one day in Dublin, make sure not to miss any of the Top Ten Sights! Most are within easy reach of the city center or will be part of a bus tour. Whichever form of transport you decide upon, you are certain to find further attractions on the way!
- Trinity College and Old Library (Founded in 1592 by Queen Elizabeth I on the grounds of an Augustinian priory that was a victim of the dissolution)
- O'Connell Street and the General Post Office (Dublin's main traffic artery and the widest urban street in Europe and scene of the 1916 rebellion)
- National Museums (The National Museum of Archaeology and History, The National Museum of Decorative Arts and History)
- St Patrick's Cathedral (Ireland's largest church and the National Cathedral)
- Temple Bar ("bohemian quarter" where you will meet street artists and enjoy international cuisine and bustling pubs)
- National Gallery
- Kilmainham Jail
- Dublin Castle
- Phoenix Park (The world's largest enclosed municipal park)
- Guinness Storehouse
Dublin has an extensive bus network but only a few rail and tram lines. The buses can be slow and unreliable due to the city’s traffic but for many destinations outside the city centre (including the airport) they are the only public transport option. The majority of buses are operated by Dublin Bus with some smaller companies operating other routes, most usefully an express service to Dublin Airport operated by Aircoach.
With over 12,000 licensed taxis working the Dublin area there is generally little problem getting a taxi in Dublin. All taxis in Ireland a large yellow and blue roof-sign and are metered. Since October 2006 all taxi charges have been the same throughout the country. Taxis have a sticker on the sun visor and fare cards in the seat pockets or window stickers which explain the fares.
Taxis may be hailed on the street, picked up at a taxi rank or ordered by phone. There are no charges for luggage or an airport pick up. Check the charges on the meter, and if you don't understand them, ask! Drivers are generally honest.
Whatever your taste or budget there is a wide variety of restaurants to choose from during your stay in Dublin.
|Monday - Saturday||09.00-18.00 in most towns and cities.|
|Thursdays||Dublin and Belfast have late-night shopping to 20.00-21.00.|
|Thursday and Friday||Late night shopping in most malls/shopping centres.|
|Sunday||Many shops are open 12.00-18.00|
|Duty-free shopping||Available at all the international airports.|