Dublin is the capital and largest city of Ireland. Dublin was established as a Viking settlement in the 9thcentury and despite a number of rebellions by the native Irish, it remained largely under Viking control until the Norman invasion of Ireland was launched from Wales in 1169. The name Dublin comes from the Irish name Dubhlinn or Duibhlinn meaning “black pool”.
Dublin Castle, which became the centre of Norman power in Ireland, was founded in 1204 as a major defensive work on the orders of King John of England. Following the appointment of the first Lord Mayor of Dublin in 1229, the city expanded and had a population of 8,000 by the end of the 13thcentury. Dublin prospered as a trade centre despite an attempt by King Robert I of Scotland to capture the city in 1317. It remained a relatively small walled medieval town during the 14thcentury and was under constant threat from the surrounding native clans.
The city had a population of 21,000 in 1640 before a plague in 1649-1651 wiped out almost half of the city’s inhabitants, however the city prospered again soon after as a result of the wool and linen trade with England, reaching a population of over 50,000 in 1700. The city continued to prosper during the 18thcentury with the population exceeding 130,000 and the cast majority of Dublin’s most notable architecture dates from this period, such as the Four Courts and the Custom House. Temple Bar and Grafton Street are two of the few remaining areas that were not affected by the wave of Georgian reconstruction and maintained their medieval character. In 1759, the founding of the Guinness brewery resulted in a considerable economic gain for the city. For much of the time since its foundation, the brewery was Dublin’s largest employer.
Dublin is situated at the mouth of the River Liffey and encompasses a land area of approximately 115 km2. It is bordered by a low mountain range to the south and surrounded by flat farmland to the north and west. The Liffey divides the city in two between the Northside and the Southside. A north-south division has traditionally existed, with the Northside generally seen as working class, while the Southside is seen as middle to upper-middle class.
Similar to much of northwest Europe, Dublin experiences a maritime climate with cool winters, mild summers, and a lack of temperature extremes. The average maximum January temperature is 8.8 oC, while the average maximum July temperature in 20.2 oC. On average, the sunniest months are May and June, while the wettest month is October with 3 inches of rain, and the driest month is February with 2 inches.
Dublin has many landmarks and monuments dating back hundreds of years. One of the oldest is Dublin Castle, which was first founded as a major defensive work on the orders of King John of England in 1204, shortly after the Norman invasion of Ireland in 1169, when it was commanded that a castle be built with strong wall and good ditches for the defence of the city, the administration of justice, and the protection of the King’s treasure.
One of Dublin’s newest monuments is the Pire of Dublin, or officially titled “Monument of Light”. It is a 398 foot conical spire made of stainless steel and during the day it maintains its steel look, but at dusk the monument appears to merge into the sky. The base of the monument is lit and the tip is illuminated to provide a beacon in the night sky across the city.
Many people visit the Trinity College, Dublin to see the Book of Kells in the library there. The Book of Kells is an illustrated manuscript created by Irish Monks circa. 800 AD. The Ha’penny Bridge, an old iron footbridge over the River Liffey is one of the most photographed sights in Dublin and is considered to be one of Dublin’s most iconic landmarks.