Dublin is the capital city of Ireland hosting about 530,000 residents (about 11% of all of Ireland’s population resides in the capital city). The greater Dublin area houses about 1.5 million, about 25% of the country’s population. The River Liffey divides the city into North Dublin and South Dublin. Most of the popular tourist sites are in South Dublin, south of the Liffey River.
Churches and Religion
Christianity is the largest religion in Ireland, with 84.2% of the population belonging to the Roman Catholic Church. The second largest denomination is the Church of Ireland, which is part of the worldwide Anglican Communion. The Church of Ireland is one church embracing Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland with around 390,000 members; about 249,000 in Northern Ireland and over 129,000 in the Republic of Ireland. Other significant Protestant denominations are the Presbyterian Church in Ireland and the Methodist Church in Ireland. In 2011, a census found that 7.6% of the population had no religion, which seems to be a rising percentage with today’s Irish youth.
St. Patrick’s Cathedral
St. Patrick’s Cathedral dates back to 1191 and is one of two Church of Ireland cathedrals. It is the largest church in Ireland, and has a 43-meter (140 foot) spire. Since 1870, St. Patrick’s is the national church of Ireland.
Christ Church Cathedral
Christ Church Cathedral, also known as the Cathedral of the Holy Trinity, is the cathedral of the United Dioceses of Dublin and Glendalough. It’s also the cathedral of the Ecclesiastical province of the United Provinces of Dublin and Cashel in the Church of Ireland. Christ Church is Dublin’s oldest Christian church. The Roman Catholic archbishops and the Church of Ireland have both claimed Christ Church Cathedral, though it has only been used by the Church of Ireland’s Archbishop of Dublin since the English Reformation. The Roman Catholic Archbishop of Dublin uses St. Mary’s as his acting cathedral.
Medieval Buildings and Landmarks
Dublin is full of medieval buildings such as the 13th century Dublin Castle, 12th century St. Patrick’s Cathedral, 11th century Christ Church Cathedral, the 1902 Guinness Storehouse, and the Temple Bar area, which started in the 1600s for Sir William Temple.
Dublin Castle was the seat of British rule in Ireland until 1922. Now, it is a major Irish government complex. The ancient castle dates back to he era of King John, Ireland’s first king. The new Provisional Government, led by Michael Collins, took control of the complex after the Anglo-Irish Treaty in 1921.
St. James’s Gate
Arthur Guinness founded the Guinness Storehouse, or St. James’s Gate Brewery. Inside, you can see how to brew Guinness, from its ingredients to the brewing process. It also includes a history of Guinness through advertising, an interactive exhibit on responsible drinking, and special bars with Irish music. No trip to the Guinness Storehouse is complete with a trip to the Gravity Bar on the 7th floor with glass walls for incredible birds-eye views of Dublin while enjoying a free pint.No trip to the Guinness Storehouse is complete without a trip to the Gravity Bar! Click To Tweet
The people of Ireland revere and respect Sir Arthur Guinness for being one of the best businessmen and philanthropists of his time. He was a sponsor of Dublin Artisan’s Dwelling Company in which he bought rows and rows of brick townhouses (very close to the Storehouse) and provided affordable housing for poor Dubliners. To this day, the houses on Bride Street are still used to house the underprivileged. He also bought St. Stephen’s Green, Dublin’s central public park, and donated it to the people of Dublin in 1880.
To work at Guinness was a privilege because of Arthur Guinness’s attention to his employees’ well being. He was the first business owner who provided free health care for his employees and their families including medicine, hospital beds, and treatments. The company was also the first to give paid sick and vacation days. He even gave his employees annual excursions and a beer allowance of 2 free pints per day. Employees considered themselves lucky to work at Guinness.
Temple Bar, historically known as St. Andrews Parish, is not actually a bar but a historic cobblestone pedestrian-only area with many local and famous Dublin bars, restaurants, and entertainment. It was a medieval suburb of Dublin located outside the city walls, but now is in the center of the old city. It is typically known for bar-lined streets which close late, popular with students and the younger Dublin crowd.
St. Stephen’s Green
St. Stephen’s Green is the central public park next to the popular Grafton Street and donated by Arthur Guinness in 1880 and now maintained by the Office of Public Works in Ireland. St. Stephen’s Green covers 22 acres and is the largest park in Dublin.
Grafton Street is a pedestrian-only cobblestone street in the center of Dublin where you can browse shops, see performers or artists, and sometimes enjoy free concerts. The street runs from St. Stephen’s Green to Trinity College. Here, you can find stores like Disney Store, Pandora, Carroll’s Gifts, or Butler’s Chocolates. It’s one of the most expensive shopping streets in the world.
Trinity College is the sole college of the University of Dublin in Ireland and Ireland’s most prestigious university. Founded in 1592, it is one of the seven ancient universities of Britain and Ireland and the oldest university in Ireland. It rivals universities like Oxford and Cambridge and is exceptionally difficult to gain admission to. Trinity College is on the College Green across from the former Irish Houses of Parliament. It occupies 47 acres, has 2 sports fields, and has over 4.5 million printed volumes of manuscripts, maps, and music. Small side note: Jack Gleeson, better known as Joffrey from Game of Thrones, attends Trinity College and can be seen around campus!
Jack Gleeson (Joffrey from Game of Thrones) attends Trinity College in Dublin! Click To TweetThe Library at Trinity College is a paid tourist attraction (10€ for adults) to visit the famous Book of Kells (an illuminated manuscript Gospel book written in Latin by Celtic monks around 800 AD), where two of the four volumes are on public display.
Ha’penny Bridge is officially known as the Liffey Bridge, a pedestrian bridge dating back to 1816 and made of cast iron. Before the bridge, there were 7 ferries that provided transportation across the Liffey River. When their condition deteriorated, the owner decided to build a toll bridge instead of replacing his ferries. His toll was a half pence to walk across the Ha’penny Bridge for 100 years.
Spire of Dublin
The Spire of Dublin is a large, stainless steel, pin-like monument 121.2 m (398 ft) tall on O’Connell Street in Dublin. It’s famous for its elegant and dynamically simple design, bridging art and technology. The first section dates back to 2002, with five addition 20 m (66 ft) sections added later, the last added in 2003. The Spire of Dublin is the world’s tallest sculpture.
Why is one statue in Dublin shinier than the rest? Legend has it that rubbing the voluptuous Molly Malone’s breasts will bring you luck. It could just be that she’s the bustiest statue around and people can’t help copping a feel, then say it’s for luck to make it “appropriate”? Either way, I couldn’t resist joining in on the legend. I’m not sure if I gained any luck from it, but it sure made for a good picture!
Have you been to Dublin? What was your favorite part of the city? Did I miss anything important in my Dublin recap? Let me know in the comments below!
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