Hundreds of years of rich history set the stage for the Republic of Ireland’s capital city, which takes a fierce pride in its culture, working class values and heritage. Situated on the island’s east coast at the mouth of the River Liffey, Dublin is Ireland’s capital and largest city. It was founded in the ninth century as a Viking settlement, later becoming a kingdom and a major city after the Norman Invasion in 1169.
Many of Dublin’s historic artifacts and sites can still be seen today. For instance, Dublin Castle, founded in 1204, still stands near Dame Street as a symbol of Ireland’s strength and a display of bygone pomp and circumstance. The Liffey Bridge (Or Ha’Penny Bridge, as it’s commonly known), is still one of Dublin’s most picturesque landmarks, as it was when it was built in 1816. And Trinity College, established by Queen Elizabeth I of England in 1592, is home to the Book of Kells, an illustrated manuscript created by Celtic monks around 800 A.D.
It’s no wonder, then, that so many esteemed artists have drawn inspiration from Dublin’s historic charm. The poetry of William Butler Yeats was influenced by Irish folklore, while playwright Samuel Beckett enjoyed the lively theater scene of post-independence Dublin. Writer James Joyce set many famous works here, including Ulysses and Dubliners. And in the numerous theaters scattered across the city, well-known actors like Orson Welles, Sir Michael Gambon and Colin Farrell got their start on the stage.
Visitors will find plenty of culture and entertainment in the different neighborhoods throughout the city. In Temple Bar—famous for its animated nightlife—the streets are lit up with the energy from numerous pubs, street performers and other small arts venues. The best shopping can be done strolling the walks of Grafton Street and St. Stephen’s Green. And sports fans can catch a football or rugby league match, or play a round of golf on one of the city’s scenic greens.