Fact Sheet – Visit Dublin
Fact Sheet – Visit Dublin
Dublin, Ireland’s capital, is a city of great variety despite its intimate size, where you can move easily from the vibrant city centre life to the peaceful tranquillity of its charming coastal villages in less than 30 minutes. It’s got something for everyone with art, culture and nightlife in a bustling city that is easy to get around, before immersing yourself in nature and heritage on its wonderful outskirts.
Dublin provides the perfect backdrop for a break and what many visitors enjoy most are the Dubliners themselves and the hospitality and warm welcome they provide. Ireland’s capital is a place to build lasting memories, savour great experiences and celebrate the unexpected.
A vibrant, creative and super-friendly city that’s forward-looking but also proud of its past, Dublin offers something for everyone. It is for history lovers and bon vivant, outdoor adventurers and book-worms, bargain-hunters and party animals.
It’s a buzzing European city where medieval cathedrals stand majestically alongside 21st-century architectural marvels, where Trinity College and the Phoenix Park are highlighted and where cobbled streets, Victorian terraces and Georgian squares boast great restaurants and quirky cafes, museums and atmospheric pubs.
Dublin’s bayside setting is part of its charm. It has several beautiful coastal villages like Malahide and Dalkey that are a half-hour train journey from the city centre. To the south, its uplands provide stunning views and the perfect environment for hill-walkers, mountain bikers and nature enthusiasts.
Dublin is where you can enjoy the thrills of hurling at the magnificent Croke Park and take in the sights of the city from a tour on the River Liffey with Dublin Discovered. It’s where you can savour the magnificent views and enjoy a pint of the black stuff at the panoramic Gravity Bar atop the Guinness Storehouse or catch a gig with locals at Whelan’s live music venue.
We have attached blogs on the following aspects of visiting Dublin to help with planning your trip.
- Best Architecture in Dublin
- Best Museums in Dublin
- Best Parks and Gardens in Dublin
- Dublin Sites associated with Literature
- Best Museums in Dublin
- Best Parks and Gardens in Dublin
- Dublin in Summer with Children
- Dublin in Winter with Children
- Dublin Top 10 Culture sites
- Statues of Dublin
Dublin Bridges and Rivers
The city of Dublin is divided by the River Liffey which flows into Dublin Bay. A number of smaller rivers such as the Poddle and the Dodder flow into the Liffey.
O’Connell Bridge and the Ha’Penny Bridge are the best known of the 23 bridges which span the Liffey. O’Connell Bridge, opened in 1794, is wider than it is long and the streets leading from it run on a north-south axis. To the north, the city’s main thoroughfare is bustling statue-lined O’Connell Street. The General Post Office, HQ of the 1916 rebellion, has a museum that is well worth visiting. The shopping magnet of Henry Street joins O’Connell Street here.
To the south of O’Connell Bridge are Trinity College, Grafton Street for shopping and Kildare Street where Leinster House (Parliament Building), the National Museum (Archaeology) and National Library are to be found. Within a short walk are the National Gallery and Natural History Museum. At the top of Grafton Street is St Stephen’s Green with its duckpond and pleasant walkways, a haven in the city centre.
The Ha’Penny Bridge (officially the Liffey Bridge), built-in 1816, is so-called because the rich used to pay a toll of a halfpenny to avoid mixing with ordinary Dubliners.
Many of the other bridges are attractive rather than purely functional. Notable ones include:
Mellows Bridge – a graceful three arched bridge built in 1768 which makes it the oldest Liffey crossing.
Rosie Hackett Bridge – opened in 2014, it’s the newest and the only one called after a woman.
Samuel Beckett Bridge – designed by Santiago Calatrava and opened in 2009, it’s the most unusual Liffey bridge and resembles a harp.
Beaches of Dublin
The coastline of Dublin has many places for sea swimming and other activities.
North Dublin Beaches
Skerries Beach is 2.5km long and has three small islands offshore.
Portrane Beach is 2km long and has a Martello Tower beside it and a great view of Lambay Island.
Malahide Beach in the north Dublin suburb for swimming and surfing.
Balcarrick/Donabate Beach is 3.5km long and has sand dunes and rock pools. There’s a coastal walking route from Donabate to Portrane.
Portmarnock Beach, also known as Velvet Beach, is the only Blue Flag beach north of Dublin Bay. There’s a good view of the famous Ireland’s Eye from here.
Dollymount Strand on Bull Island is great for a walk and for paddleboarding and kite-surfing.
South Dublin Beaches
Sandymount Strand is overlooked by a Martello Tower and is a popular walking spot but not safe for swimming. When the tide is out the strand seems to stretch forever into Dublin Bay.
Seapoint is the only Blue Flag beach south of Dublin Bay and is good for swimming when the tide is in. It is also overlooked by a Martello Tower.
Sandycove is home to the famous 40 Foot, one of Dublin’s best-known swimming spots. The Martello Tower immortalised in Joyce’s Ulysses is nearby.
Killiney Beach is a stony area surrounded by stunning scenic views. It’s good for swimming when the tide is in but becomes deep quite quickly.
Churches and Cathedrals
Dublin has many great Churches from the Catholic and Protestant Heritage. It’s unusual in having two Church of Ireland (Anglican) Cathedrals but no Catholic one. Christ Church is the diocesan cathedral of Dublin while nearby St Patrick’s is the national cathedral. The Catholic Pro-Cathedral on Marlborough Street, behind O’Connell Street on the north side of O’Connell Bridge, is the main Catholic church and was completed in 1825 and is less architecturally ornate than the Protestant churches. Nearly all the Catholic churches of Dublin were built after 1829 when Catholic Emancipation was won.
Brief History of Dublin
The Irish name Baile Átha Cliath refers to an ancient crossing point on the River Liffey. The other name, Dubh Linn (Black Pool), refers to the point where the small River Poddle joins the Liffey and dates from the time of the Viking raiders who sailed up the Liffey and used the area as a base. Norse people began to settle here, founding the first proper settlement with its own king, and they traded extensively, particularly with Norse settlements in England. In 1014 the power of the Norse of Dublin was broken after they and their allies were defeated at the Battle of Clontarf.
In 1170 the city was captured by the Normans under Strongbow who is buried in Christchurch cathedral. It became the centre of English rule in Ireland, later centred on Dublin Castle which was built in the early 1200s. The Irish Parliament met in Dublin from time to time but real power rested with the Lord Deputy who represented the English monarch. Dublin was the base from which the true conquest of Ireland by the Tudors was organised from the 1530s onwards.
The eighteenth century was Dublin’s golden era and the Wide Streets Commission swept away many old buildings to create an elegant streetscape of broad thoroughfares in the centre. The city became well known for the finest Georgian architecture with many houses arranged around graceful squares. The Georgian style can be seen in Leinster House (Parliament Building), Merrion and Fitzwilliam Squares, and Áras an Uachtaráin (President’s residence).
Dublin went into a decline following the Act of Union in 1800 which caused many of the wealthy and powerful to leave the city. It was mainly restricted to the area between the Royal and Grand Canals with a number of small villages outside that area. In the twentieth century, the city expanded further, absorbing these villages. Sadly, many fine old buildings were torn down from the 1950s but the city can boast some impressive modern architecture. Good examples include the Irish Financial Services Centre and the Docklands Development Area as well as the Convention Bureau overlooking the river. Busaras, the Central Bus Station, on Store Street is a particularly fine modern design from the 1950s.
Parks of Dublin City
Phoenix Park is Europe’s largest enclosed urban park at 1,750 acres and is bisected by busy Chesterfield Avenue. It’s a hugely popular recreation spot for Dubliners for walking, jogging and cycling and picnicking. Dublin Zoo is within the park, which is also home to a large herd of free-roaming fallow deer. The President’s residence Aras an Uachtarán is just up the road from the Zoo, and the US Ambassador’s residence is across the road from that. Farmleigh House was home to the Guinness family, is now the official accommodation for foreign dignitaries visiting Dublin and is open for guided visits. The story of the area is told at the visitor centre near the northern end of the park.
In 1979 Pope John Paul 2 concelebrated mass in front of over 1.25 million people in the park – the site is now marked by a large metal cross. Other monuments include the Wellington Testimonial commemorating the Iron Duke who was born in Dublin and the Phoenix Monument on Chesterfield Avenue near Aras an Uachtarain. Cricket ground and polo ground and many other facilities lie within the Phoenix Park.
Theatres of Dublin
The oldest theatre in Dublin is The Smock Alley Theatre on Exchange St. The Abbey Theatre in … St was set up by WB Yeats, the Gate Theatre is known for plays and the Gaiety Theatre at the top of Grafton Street has large shows such as the Riverdance in Summer and the Panto in Winter. The largest modern theatre is the …….. Theatre where large overseas shows are shown
Transport in Dublin City
Airport- Dublin has Ireland’s main international airport with flights landing daily from Europe (Aer Lingus, Ryanair and many international carriers), from North America (Aer Lingus, United Airlines, Delta, American Airlines, Transat and Air Canada) and Emirates from the Gulf. Car Hire is available at the airport and. Public and private buses run from the airport into the city, as do taxis. You need the exact change for the public bus or you can buy a leap card at Dublin Airport.
By Ferry – Passenger and car ferries arrive at Dublin Ferryport from the UK and Europe
Train. Iranród Éireann/ Irish Rail is the country’s national rail service and Dublin is the central hub of the Irish rail system with links to the main cities and points in between. The main railway stations are Connolly Station, near Busaras on the north side of the river Liffey and Heuston Station to the west of the city centre and accessed by bus from the airport or city centre.
Tickets can be purchased online and there are timetables on this link.
Dublin by Bus– Buses are an easy and practical way to get around Dublin city with the Leap Card the easiest way to pay. The Dublin Bus fleet includes double-deckers, single-deckers and minibuses. The central point for most buses in the city is the area around O Connell Street, Eden Quay on the northside and Aston Quay, Fleet Street and College Street on the south side of River Liffey. Buses have a number and final destination (often in Irish and English). Take a look at the bus stop for each bus route or check the app (Dublinbus.ie). Buses run from 6 am to 11.30 pm daily with a Nitelink service to some suburbs up to 4 am on a half-hourly basis. Note – no Dublin bus will accept notes or give change so make sure to have change or a Leap card.
The Intercity bus service works from Busaras Central bus station beside
The Luas – Dublin City centre has a tram system that runs on 2 lines to Dublin city centre. The Red Line is West to East from Saggart, Tallaght and the Red Cow (parking for the west of Ireland traffic on M7) to Connoly and the Point in the docklands. The Green Line is a north to the south line from Broombridge just north of the city centre to Dundrum, Sandyford and Brides Glen to the south
Link to the network here. The tram network tickets can be purchased for single or return trips at the stop, but its much cheaper to get a Leap Card for one day, seven days or thirty days. Child and Student cards can also be purchased
Dart – The Dart is a separate coastal electrified train on heavy rail across the city from Howth in the north to Dún Laoghaire, Dalkey, Bray and Greystones in the south. This is a very picturesque route and it intersects with the Luas Red Line at Connolly Railway Station