IRELAND  |  Dublin City, Ireland Travel Guide
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A Brief History of Dublin

Christ Enthroned, from the Book of Kells, on display at Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland

A Brief History of Dublin

Dublin first appeared as Eblana on Ptolemy’s map of 140 AD. The Vikings arrived around 841, set up a trading post on the south bank of the Liffey, around Islandbridge and Kilmainham, and were defeated by Brian Boru at Clontarf in 1014. After the Anglo-Norman conquest of 1169, the city became their seat of power, with a castle near where Dublin Castle stands today.

In the 18th century the city was among the most elegant in the world, with its Georgian squares and architecture. Ireland’s Parliament met in Dublin in the handsome building opposite Trinity College, now the Bank of Ireland (one had to be a Protestant and male to be elected to Parliament in those days!). Handel performed The Messiah for the first time in Dublin in 1742. However, all that changed with the Act of Union in 1800, when the city, in a reaction to the French Revolution and the United Irishmen Uprising, lost its political power to London. Agitation for Home Rule increased over the next 100 years or so, eventually leading to the Easter Rising in 1916, when the Irish Republic was formally proclaimed at the General Post Office on O’Connell Street.

Dublin Today

Dublin, over the years, has blossomed into a supremely cosmopolitan city, with a brave new economy and a huge influx of new immigrants into the city. However, alongside these developments the city has endured its fair share of growing pains. Traffic, for instance, has become a major issue, while home prices have skyrocketed and the city has continued to sprawl in all directions. At present, fully one-third of the Republic’s population lives in the greater Dublin area.

Still, Dublin remains an attractive city, despite the destruction of scores of older, picturesque buildings during less prosperous times, and their subsequent replacement with more drab, monolithic architecture. The city enjoys a riverfront setting, for one thing, and boasts several wonderful examples of Georgian architecture besides. Good contemporary design is now beginning to add color and shape the city as well.

Last updated May 31, 2011
Posted in   Ireland  |  Dublin City
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