Dublin Travel Guide

Culture

The arts

Dublin has a world famous literary history, having produced many prominent literary figures, including Nobel laureates William Butler Yeats, George Bernard Shaw and Samuel Beckett. Other influential writers and playwrights include Oscar Wilde, Jonathan Swift and the creator of Dracula, Bram Stoker. It is arguably most famous as the location of the greatest works of James Joyce, including Ulysses, which is set in Dublin and full of topical detail. Dubliners is a collection of short stories by Joyce about incidents and typical characters of the city during the early 20th century. Other renowned writers include J. M. Synge, Seán O'Casey, Brendan Behan, Maeve Binchy, and Roddy Doyle. Ireland's biggest libraries and literary museums are found in Dublin, including the National Print Museum of Ireland and National Library of Ireland. In July 2010, Dublin was named as a UNESCO City of Literature, joining Edinburgh, Melbourne and Iowa City with the permanent title.

There are several theatres within the city centre, and various world famous actors have emerged from the Dublin theatrical scene, including Noel Purcell, Sir Michael Gambon, Brendan Gleeson, Stephen Rea, Colin Farrell, Colm Meaney and Gabriel Byrne. The best known theatres include the Gaiety, Abbey, Olympia, Gate, and Grand Canal. The Gaiety specialises in musical and operatic productions, and is popular for opening its doors after the evening theatre production to host a variety of live music, dancing, and films. The Abbey was founded in 1904 by a group that included Yeats with the aim of promoting indigenous literary talent. It went on to provide a breakthrough for some of the city's most famous writers, such as Synge, Yeats himself and George Bernard Shaw. The Gate was founded in 1928 to promote European and American Avant Garde works. The Grand Canal Theatre is a new 2,111 capacity theatre which opened in March 2010 in the Grand Canal Dock.

Apart from being the focus of the country's literature and theatre, Dublin is also the focal point for much of Irish Art and the Irish artistic scene. The Book of Kells, a world-famous manuscript produced by Celtic Monks in AD 800 and an example of Insular art, is on display in Trinity College. The Chester Beatty Library houses the famous collection of manuscripts, miniature paintings, prints, drawings, rare books and decorative arts assembled by American mining millionaire (and honorary Irish citizen) Sir Alfred Chester Beatty (1875–1968). The collections date from 2700 BC onwards and are drawn from Asia, the Middle East, North Africa and Europe.

In addition public art galleries are found across the city, including the Irish Museum of Modern Art, the National Gallery, the Hugh Lane Municipal Gallery, The Douglas Hyde Gallery, The Project Arts Centre and The Royal Hibernian Academy. In recent years Dublin has become host to a thriving contemporary art scene. Some of the leading private galleries include Green on Red Gallery, Kerlin Gallery, Kevin Kavangh Gallery and mother’s tankstation each of which focuses on facilitating innovative, challenging and engaging contemporary visual art practice.

Three branches of the National Museum of Ireland are located in Dublin: Archaeology in Kildare Street, Decorative Arts and History in Collins Barracks and Natural History in Merrion Street. The same area is also home to many smaller museums such as Number 29 on Fitzwilliam St. and The Little Museum of Dublin on St. Stephen's Green. Dublin is home to the National College of Art and Design, which dates from 1746, and Dublin Institute of Design, founded in 1991.

Dublin has long been a city with a strong underground arts scene. Temple Bar was the home of many artists in the 1980s, and spaces such as the Project Arts Centre were hubs for collectives and new exhibitions. The Guardian noted that Dublin's independent and underground arts flourished during the economic recession of 2010. Dublin also has many acclaimed dramatic, musical and operatic companies, including Festival Productions, Lyric Opera Productions, The Pioneers Musical & Dramatic Society, The Glasnevin Musical Society, Second Age Theatre Company, Opera Theatre Company, and Opera Ireland. Ireland is well known for its love of baroque music, which is highly acclaimed at Trinity College.

Perhaps the most famous Dublin theatre company is the renowned Rathmines and Rathgar Musical Society, which has been in existence since 1913. It produced full scale productions of popular musicals and operettas including Oklahoma!, Carousel, The Mikado, Guys and Dolls, The Pirates of Penzance, Me and My Girl, My Fair Lady, The Yeoman of the Guard, Gigi, Fiddler on the Roof, The Gondoliers, Anything Goes, The Merry Widow, Iolanthe, The Producers and HMS Pinafore. At present, the society is performing a tribute concert to the works of Rodgers and Hammerstein at the National Concert Hall. The society recreated their 1913 production of The Mikado in November 2010 at the National Concert Hall.

Dublin was shortlisted to be World Design Capital 2014. Taoiseach Enda Kenny was quoted to say that Dublin "would be an ideal candidate to host the World Design Capital in 2014".

Entertainment

Dublin has a vibrant nightlife and is reputedly one of Europe's most youthful cities, with an estimate of 50% of citizens being younger than 25. There are many pubs across the city centre, with the area around St. Stephen's Green and Grafton Street, especially Harcourt Street, Camden Street, Wexford Street and Leeson Street, having the most popular nightclubs and pubs.

The best known area for nightlife is Temple Bar, south of the River Liffey. The area has become popular among tourists, including stag and hen parties from Britain. It was developed as Dublin's cultural quarter and does retain this spirit as a centre for small arts productions, photographic and artists' studios, and in the form of street performers and small music venues. However, it has been criticised as overpriced, false and dirty by Lonely Planet. In general, it is regarded by locals as tourist orientated with false "ye olde Irish" pretensions. The areas around Leeson Street, Harcourt Street, South William Street and Camden/George's Street are popular nightlife spots for locals.

Live music is popularly played on streets and at venues throughout Dublin in general, and the city has produced several musicians and groups of international success, including U2, one member of Westlife, The Dubliners, The Thrills, Horslips, Jedward, The Boomtown Rats, Boyzone, Ronan Keating, Thin Lizzy, Paddy Casey, Sinéad O'Connor, The Script and My Bloody Valentine. The two best known cinemas in the city centre are the Savoy Cinema and the Cineworld Cinema, both north of the Liffey. Alternative and special-interest cinema can be found in the Irish Film Institute in Temple Bar, in the Screen Cinema on d'Olier Street and in the Lighthouse Cinema in Smithfield. Large modern multiscreen cinemas are located across suburban Dublin. The O2 venue in the Dublin Docklands has played host to many world renowned performers.

Shopping

Dublin is a popular shopping destination for both locals and tourists. The city has numerous shopping districts, particularly around Grafton Street and Henry Street. The city centre is also the location of large department stores, most notably Arnotts, Brown Thomas and Clerys.

The city retains a thriving market culture, despite new shopping developments and the loss of some traditional market sites. Several historic locations, including Moore Street, remain one of the city's oldest trading districts. There has also been a significant growth in local farmers' markets and other markets. In 2007, Dublin Food Co-op relocated to a larger warehouse in The Liberties area, where it is home to many market and community events. Suburban Dublin has several modern retail centres, including Dundrum Town Centre, Blanchardstown Centre, The Square in Tallaght, Liffey Valley Shopping Centre in Clondalkin, Omni Shopping Centre in Santry, Nutgrove Shopping Centre in Rathfarnham, and Pavilions Shopping Centre in Swords.

Restaurants

Dublin has a variety of ethnic restaurants. As of 2013, Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud is the only two-Michelin starred restaurant along with five one-Michelin starred restaurants; (Bon Appétit, Chapter One, L'Ecrivain, Locks Brasserie and Thornton's Restaurant).

Media

Dublin is the centre of both media and communications in Ireland, with many newspapers, radio stations, television stations and telephone companies based there. RTÉ is Ireland's national state broadcaster, and is based in Donnybrook. Fair City is RTÉ's soap opera, located in the fictional Dublin suburb of Carraigstown. TV3 and Setanta Sports are also based in the city. The headquarters of An Post and telecommunications companies such as Eircom, as well as mobile operators Meteor, Vodafone, O2 and 3 are all located there. Dublin is also the headquarters of important national newspapers such as The Irish Times and Irish Independent, as well as local newspapers such as The Evening Herald.

As well as being home to RTÉ Radio, Dublin also hosts the national radio networks Today FM and Newstalk, and numerous local stations. Commercial radio stations based in the city include 4fm (94.9 MHz), 98FM (98.1 MHz), Radio Nova 100FM (100.3 MHz), Q102 (102.2 MHz), Spin 1038 (103.8 MHz), FM104 (104.4 MHz), Phantom 105.2 (105.2 MHz) and Sunshine 106.8 (106.8 MHz). There are also numerous community and special interest stations, including Dublin City FM (103.2 MHz), Dublin South FM (93.9 MHz), Liffey Sound FM (96.4 MHz), Near FM (90.3 MHz), Phoenix FM (92.5 MHz), Raidió na Life (106.4 MHz) and West Dublin Access Radio (96.0 MHz).

Sport

Croke Park is the largest sports stadium in Ireland. The headquarters of the Gaelic Athletic Association, it has a capacity of 82,300. It is the fourth largest stadium in Europe after Nou Camp in Barcelona, Wembley Stadium in London and Santiago Bernabéu Stadium in Madrid. It hosts the premier Gaelic football and hurling games, international rules football and irregularly other sporting and non-sporting events including concerts. During the redevelopment of Lansdowne Road it played host to the Irish Rugby Union Team and Republic of Ireland national football team as well as hosting the Heineken Cup rugby 2008-2009 semi-final between Munster and Leinster which set a world record attendance for a club rugby match. The Dublin GAA team plays most of their home league hurling and Gaelic Football games at Parnell Park.

I.R.F.U. Stadium Lansdowne Road was laid out in 1874. This was the venue for home games of both the Irish Rugby Union Team and the Republic of Ireland national football team. A joint venture between the Irish Rugby Football Union, the FAI and the Government, saw it redeveloped into a new state-of-the-art 50,000 seat Aviva Stadium, which opened in May 2010. Aviva Stadium hosted the 2011 UEFA Europa League Final. Rugby union team Leinster Rugby play their competitive home games in the RDS Arena & the Aviva Stadium while Donnybrook Stadium hosts their friendlies and A games, Ireland A and Women, Leinster Schools and Youths and the home club games of All Ireland League clubs Old Wesley and Bective Rangers. County Dublin is home for 13 of the senior rugby union clubs in Ireland including 5 of the 10 sides in the top division 1A.

County Dublin is home to five League of Ireland clubs, all playing in the Premier Division. Dalymount Park in Phibsboro, is home to Bohemians F.C. Current League Champions and the first Irish side to reach the group stages of a European competition: 2011–12 UEFA Europa League group stage Shamrock Rovers play at Tallaght Stadium in South Dublin, play at Richmond Park, and play their home games at the UCD Bowl in Dún Laoghaire–Rathdown, while is based at Tolka Park. Tolka Park, Dalymount Park, UCD Bowl and Tallaght Stadium, along with the Carlisle Grounds in Bray, hosted all Group 3 games in the intermediary round of the 2011 UEFA Regions' Cup.

The Dublin Marathon has been run since 1980 on the last Monday in October. The Women's Mini Marathon has been run since 1983 on the first Monday in June, which is also a bank holiday in Ireland. It is said to be the largest all female event of its kind in the world.

The Dublin area has several race courses including Shelbourne Park and Leopardstown. The Dublin Horse Show takes place at the RDS, which hosted the Show Jumping World Championships in 1982. The national boxing arena is located in The National Stadium on the South Circular Road. The National Basketball Arena is located in Tallaght, is the home of the Irish basketball team, is the venue for the basketball league finals and has also hosted Boxing and Wrestling events. The National Aquatic Centre in Blanchardstown is Ireland's largest indoor water leisure facility. Dublin has two ODI Cricket grounds in Castle Avenue, Clontarf and Malahide Cricket Club and College Park has Test status and played host to Ireland's only Test cricket match to date, a women's match against Pakistan in 2000. There are also handball, hockey and athletics stadia, most notably Morton Stadium in Santry, which held the athletics events of the 2003 Special Olympics.

source: Wikipedia

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