With a thousand years of history behind it and the ghosts of some of the greatest writers of the 20th century among its inhabitants Dublin is the essential part of any trip to Ireland. The buildings themselves spell out the contrast and contradictions that make up Ireland's capital. From Medieval, to Georgian, to modern architecture everything blends together an inimitable Dublin manner.
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The city groans beneath the weight of its history. To stroll down O'Connell Street, the main thoroughfare of Dublin, possibly the country, is to stroll past figures of the Irish past like Parnell, O'Connell, O'Brien and Larkin; to stand in the footsteps of Patrick Pearse where he proclaimed an independent republic.
Dublin brings the modern and the traditional together in an exciting fashion. Pubs and bars hundreds of years old, haunts of the great and wise sit comfortably next to the newest and most popular nightclubs in the country. Temple Bar is the place to be at the weekends with tens of thousands of people flooding into Dublin's City Centre for the carnival like atmosphere that takes over the streets of Temple Bar at that time.
Dublin offers something for everyone's taste. If the frenzied intoxication of Temple Bar isn't to your taste then you are sure to find what you want in the quieter cafes and bars where animated conversation is just an introduction away. With a dry wit that has made Dubliners famous and a passionate interest in everything from sports to politics to literature and the old favourite, the weather, such conversations are an excellent way to see an evening go by.
Dubliners have succeeded where so many have tried and failed in creating a city that is at once new, but proud of its traditions, unmistakably Irish but internationally cosmopolitan. But Dublin is more than the city. The Dublin Mountains stand to the south providing a panoramic view of the city in the solitary splendour of the mountain walks and trails that cris-cross the hills.
The poet Louis MacNeice called Dublin the "Augustan capital of a Gaelic nation" conjuring up images of a splendour and a beauty that can only be appreciated by visiting Dublin and discovering what makes it one of the premier tourist destinations in Europe.
• Discover Dublin’s hidden gemsEven if you are a regular visitor to Ireland’s capital city there are still a great many attractions you may not have heard of.• In search of Dublin's literary greatsORLA RAPPLE goes on a Dublin literary pub crawl — combining history, literature and alcohol. • Get aboard for a model timeHugh Dougherty visits the Fry Model Railway Exhibition at Malahide in Dublin. • Novel tour makes a splash Orla Rapple boarded a wartime vehicle for a capital tour complete with echoes of Dublin’s Viking past. • Betting on a fun night when you go to the dogsOrla Rapple discovered that there is more than just dog-racing at Dublin’s famous Shelbourne Park.