Simply explained in geographical terms, D4 (short for ‘
More complex are the socioeconomics. The name itself has always been shorthand for ‘posh’ Dublin. Buoyed on by the roaring Celtic Tiger days (from the mid 1990s until 2007), D4 became ever more sought-after, known for being the place to be seen for those celebrating the boom times. In true Dubs fashion, this sometimes outrageously ostentatious and boorish behaviour was ripe for satire, particularly after the boom eventually went bust.
D4 is also the epicenter of the country’s most interesting new accent - a hybrid of mangled vowels and strangled phrases. There are fears that this accent - rapidly gaining ground throughout Ireland due to the magic of television - is overtaking regional lilts in favour of a transatlantic twang with ‘wanker’ overtones.
Not everyone living within D4 is so label-obsessed. Stereotypes and sour grapes aside, in reality this is a leafy, well-heeled area - highly desirable (and yes, quite pricey) as a residential address. It’s where national broadcaster RTÉ is based, and the home of the Merrion Centre, University College Dublin, the Aviva Stadium, Google’s European HQ and a number of foreign embassies to Ireland.
This is also where the RDS (Royal Dublin Society) is located. 14 Irishmen joined forces in 1731 with the common aim of improving the economic condition of the country by promoting agriculture, arts, industry and science in Ireland. Over three centuries, this independent Society has kept its independence by utilising its premises and grounds to earn its keep and fund its activities. The RDS in Ballsbridge has become a major venue for exhibitions, conferences, equestrian events, sporting matches and concerts.
If you’ve got the budget, elegant Ballsbridge is also a fab place to stay (provided you don’t mind a half-hour walk or 10-minute bus ride into the city centre). There’s a plethora of upscale restaurants, trendy bars and options for luxury accommodation. Fancy a boutique hotel in a quieter part of the city? This will suit you down to the ground.
On sunny days, Sandymount Green is a pleasant spot for soaking up some rays or eating in any of the restaurants which surround it. And if you'd like to blow away the city-centre cobwebs, enjoy a stroll on Sandymount Strand. This is the most famous beach in Irish fiction - James Joyce based two scenes here in Ulysses. Apart from the literary interest, you'll be afforded an excellent view of the iconic Poolbeg Towers and a chance to gaze across at Howth Head.
Photos, from top to bottom: Aviva Stadium; Sandymount Green; Sandymount Strand (Poolbeg Towers); Sandymount Strand (View of Howth Head)