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Overview to Dublin: Travel Guide and Tourist Information


Ireland may only be a short hop across the Irish Sea from England, but there’s a gaping chasm of cultural differences between the two. And nowhere is this more the case than of the country’s capital, Dublin.

One of the first things that strikes you upon arrival in Dublin is just how friendly (and sociable) its people are. A small city – both geographically and in terms of population – it retains a warmth and feeling of community that’s often lost in larger metropolises.

Most backpackers head straight for the galleries, cafés and bars of the Temple Bar area. Across the river, however, Grafton Street is lined with similarly trendy boutiques, independent shops as well as chic and cheap Dublin hotels surrounded by the handsome quads of Trinity College.

Dublin has a clutch of fine galleries and museums: the National Gallery, the National Museum, and the National History Museum huddle together around Kildare Street and Merrion Square while the Chester Beatty Library can be found to the west of the city center.

On the (slightly rare) days when the sun shines, Dublin’s also dotted with parks. St Stephen’s Green and Merrion Square are perfect for resting up with a sandwich and a good book while, out to the west, the massive Phoenix Park is well worth investigating.

The River Liffey - the city’s lifeblood, both ancient and modern - runs through the heart of the city. According to popular myth, these waters are linked to both the city’s name and the distinctive taste of Guinness ('Dubh Linn' comes from the Irish for 'black pool').

The company itself insists that the famous black stuff is not made with water from the river, and a clearer-headed explanation of exactly what does go into the making of a pint of the stuff can be got from the Guinness Brewery (out west along the river).

In any case, the river is crisscrossed with fine bridges and lined with regal buildings like the Custom House and the General Post Office. Elsewhere, other buildings of interest include the gloomy Kilmainham Gaol and Leinster House, seat of the Irish Parliament.

Although these buildings are the cornerstones of a fine, elegant city, Dublin is notable for its human element. From the noisy cafés and pubs that line its streets, to the markets and the bustling arcades, Dublin is one of the most vital and vibrant cities in Europe.

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