A little about Dublin...
Dublin is the largest city in Ireland and the capital of the Republic of Ireland. It is located near the midpoint of Ireland's east coast, at the mouth of the River Liffey and at the centre of the Dublin Region. Founded as a Viking settlement, the city has been Ireland's primary city for most of the island's history since medieval times. Today, it is an economic, administrative and cultural centre for the island of Ireland, and has one of the fastest growing populations of any European capital city.
In a 2003 European-wide survey by the BBC, questioning 11,200 residents of 112 urban and rural areas, Dublin was the best capital city in Europe to live in, and Ireland the most content country in Europe.
The city has a world-famous literary history, having produced many prominent literary figures. Indeed, as birthplace of William Butler Yeats, George Bernard Shaw and Samuel Beckett, Dublin has produced three winners of the Nobel Prize for Literature - more than any other city in the world.
Dublin is also the focal point for much of Irish Art and the Irish artistic scene. The Book of Kells, a world-famous manuscript produced by Celtic Monks in A.D. 800 and an example of Insular art, is on display in Trinity College. The Chester Beatty Library houses the famous collection of manuscripts, miniature paintings, prints, drawings, rare books and decorative arts assembled by American mining millionaire (and honorary Irish citizen) Sir Alfred Chester Beatty (1875-1968).
Nightlife and entertainment: There is a vibrant nightlife in Dublin and it is reputedly one of the most youthful cities in Europe - with estimates of 50% of inhabitants being younger than 25. Furthermore in 2007, it was voted the friendliest city in Europe. Like the rest of Ireland, there are pubs right across the city centre, on almost every street. The area around St. Stephen's Green - especially Harcourt Street, Camden Street, Wexford Street and Leeson Street - is a centre for some of the most popular nightclubs and pubs in Dublin.
The most internationally notorious area for nightlife is the Temple Bar area just south of the River Liffey. To some extent, the area has become a hot spot for tourists, including stag and hen parties from Britain, causing some (though by no means all) locals to steer clear at night. Nonetheless, it was developed as Dublin's cultural quarter (an idea proposed by local politician Charlie Haughey), and dœs retain this spirit as a centre for small arts productions, in the form of street performers and intimate small music venues.
Live music is popularly played on streets and at venues throughout Dublin in general and the city has produced several rock bands of international success, including Thin Lizzy, U2, and Boyzone. The two best known cinemas in the city centre are the Savoy Cinema and the Cineworld Cinema, both north of the Liffey. Alternative and special-interest cinema can be found in the Irish Film Institute in Temple Bar, and in the Screen Cinema on d'Olier Street. Across suburban Dublin are located large modern multiscreen cinemas.
Dublin is a popular shopping spot for both Irish people and tourists. Dublin city centre has several shopping districts, including Grafton Street and Henry Street and the adjacent Stephen's Green Shopping Centre, Jervis Shopping Centre and newly refurbished Ilac Shopping Centre (all popular meet-up spots for decades). On Grafton street, the most famous shops include Brown Thomas and its sister shop BT2, being akin to Bloomingdales in New York City, for example. Brown Thomas also contains "mini-stores" such as Hermes and Chanel on its Wicklow Street frontage. This is Dublin's nearest equivalent to a Designer shopping street such as Bond Street in London or 5th Avenue in New York City.
Dublin city is the location of large department stores, such as Clerys on O'Connell Street, Arnotts on Henry Street, Brown Thomas on Grafton Street and Debenhams (formerly Roches Stores) on Henry Street.
The University of Dublin is the oldest university in Ireland dating from the 16th century. Its sole constituent college, Trinity College, was established by Royal Charter under Elizabeth I and was closed to Roman Catholics until Catholic Emancipation; the Catholic hierarchy then banned Roman Catholics from attending it until 1970. The National University of Ireland has its seat in Dublin, which is also the location of the associated constituent university of University College Dublin (UCD), the largest university in Ireland; although it is located in Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown, just outside the city boundary. Dublin City University (DCU) is the most recent university and specialises in business, engineering, and science courses, particularly with relevance to industry. The Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) is a medical school which is a recognised college of the NUI, it is situated at St. Stephen's Green in the city centre. The National University of Ireland, Maynooth, another constituent university of the NUI, is in neighbouring Co. Kildare, about 25 km (16 mi) from the city centre.
Griffith College Dublin is located at the former Griffith Barracks on the South Circular Road, offering courses in Accountancy, Business, Law, Computing, Media & Journalism and Design.
Dublin is also the main hub of the country's road network. The M50 motorway (the busiest road in Ireland), a semi-ring road runs around the south, west and north of the city, connecting the most important national primary routes in the state that fan out from the capital to the regions. As of 2007, a toll of €1.90 applies on what is called the West-Link, two adjacent concrete bridges that tower high above the River Liffey near the village of Lucan.