Dublin Regional Overview


At first glance, Dublin might strike you as a tad unprepossessing. It’s not as arrogantly chic as Paris, as jaw-droppingly majestic as Rome, as dementedly vibrant as New York, as achingly cool as Sydney, Barcelona or Berlin, as drop-dead gorgeous as Florence and Buenos Aires, or as bonkers as Hong Kong. What we have in spades is soul. No other city on the planet combines scabrous wit, catty putdowns and genuine warmth to quite the same degree - and often in the same sentence.


The past few years may have seen the Irish economy taking a pants-down thrashing. However, 'Dubs' have coped in time-honoured fashion: with plenty of gallows humour and copious pints of Guinness. If The Black Stuff isn't your favoured tipple, wander into the world-renowned Old Jameson Distillery to sample the indigenous firewater. Or follow in the footsteps of writers Brendan Behan and Flann O'Brien on a literary pub crawl.

Dubliners take a special pride in their city, even when explaining at length what’s wrong with it. And they’re not backward about coming forward when discussing what’s right with it, either: looking for the best pint, the finest museum, the hippest gallery, the funkiest dive in town? Just ask…you’ll get plenty of opinions.

With over 1.5 million inhabitants, the city’s colourful character is reflected in a smorgasbord of distinctive neighbourhoods. The River Liffey basically bisects the city into the ‘posh’ Southside and the ‘real Dublin’ Northside - with each area providing surprises aplenty, even for natives.

Check out the Phoenix Park, one of the largest of its kind in Europe. Its spacious grounds house Aras an Uachtarain - the official residence of the Irish president - as well as cricket pitches, Dublin Zoo, a herd of brazen fallow deer, the Wellington Monument (the largest obelisk in Europe, no less) and the Papal Cross, erected at the spot where Pope John Paul II addressed the huddled adoring masses back in 1979.

Or head into Temple Bar’s cobbled streets - where myriad traditional pubs, music venues, twee souvenir shops, watering holes and eateries provide a lively day-into-night scene. Apart from the very popular slew of tourist-focused delights, the area is also where many cultural institutions are based: the Irish Photography Centre, Irish Film Institute, Temple Bar Music Centre, and Gaiety School of Acting to name just a few.

And if you’re the rugged outdoorsy type, the Dublin Mountains are just 30 minutes away. There are a series of treks, hikes, and walks for the more adventurous amongst you while the sane folk wait in Johnnie Fox’s pub - the ‘highest bar in Ireland’, apparently.

That’s the thing about this city - there’s something for everyone. History buff? You’ll be in hog heaven. You’ve a thing for ancient buildings? Well, strap yourself in. Museums, theatres and art galleries? Consider your boat just floated. Party animal? You ain’t seen nothing yet.

From the wildest whirlwind holiday to the laziest long-weekend break - the options are endless, the welcome is warm, the hospitality is second-to-none, the craic is neverending. Take your image of the ideal city destination - now double the quirky unpredictability, add a dash of laid-back sophistication, a large pinch of black humour, and a healthy measure of irresistible charm - and you're here.

Photos, from top to bottom: Christ Church Cathedral; Tasty treats at Queen of Tarts (Temple Bar); Dublin Castle Gardens; River Liffey view looking towards Four Courts; Christy Bird's Antique & Furniture Emporium (Camden/Portobello)