Dublin, Ireland's capital city, lies on Dublin Bay and overlooks the Irish Sea that divides Ireland and Great Britain. The city is often voted among the top 10 of the world's most coveted places to live, due in equal part to the beauty of the city and the surrounding countryside and the hospitable nature of the people that live here. Many historical areas have been rejuvenated and restored in recent years, with the addition of new restaurants, clubs, and bars. This, coupled with the young multicultural population, means that the city benefits from a vibrant outlook.
As with Paris, London, and so many other cities across the world, a large river runs through the heart of Dublin. The River Liffey splits this relatively small city into the "north side" and "south side," and a well-known sight on the river up to the 1990s were the cargo ships used to export Guinness from the St. James's Gate Brewery. The river has been used for trade for many centuries and still is today. It flows for 125 kilometers through the counties of Wicklow, Kildare, and Dublin before entering the Irish Sea at Dublin Bay where big commercial and cruise ships dock. The Liffey also boasts the O’Connell Bridge dating back to the 18th Century, a rarely symmetrical bridge, which is as wide as it is long.
Dublin's Phoenix Park lies to the north of the River Liffey, and is vast, at twice the size of New York's Central Park and nearly five times as large as London's Hyde Park. It is home to many attractions, including the Irish White House—official residence of the Irish president, Dublin Zoo, and the towering Wellington Monument, which would have been even higher if the public funding had not run out in the 1820s. As well as offering picturesque and large areas of open parkland, with ideal spots for picnicking or playing sports, the park provides a rich and interesting history from the introduction of fallow deer in the 1660s to motor racing in the early 20th Century.
Trinity College dates back over 400 years, since Elizabeth I granted a charter to its founders in 1592, and is Ireland’s oldest university. It is consistently ranked as the city’s foremost university, and is by far the prettiest, the most central and the most evocative of Dublin’s institutes of higher learning. The cobbled squares lined with imposing Victorian buildings and manicured grounds impart a sense of privilege, history, and grandeur. The library of Trinity College is the largest research library in Ireland and is home to the Book of Kells, its most famous book. Also incorporating the Long Room, the Old Library is one of Ireland's biggest and busiest tourist attractions, and holds thousands of early, and in many cases very rare, volumes.
The architecture is rather a mix of periods, but many of the streets in the center of Dublin were laid out in the Georgian period of the 18th and early 19th Centuries. In most cases the original buildings have been latterly replaced, however in the southeast section of the city center around Baggot Street, Merrion Square, and Fitzwilliam Square, most of the original townhouses remain. These elegant streets with their colorful doors are truly wonderful examples of the elegant Georgian ideal.
Dublin is compact, with everything that makes up this multicultural and cosmopolitan city within walking distance. What really sets Dublin apart, however, are the Dubliners themselves, who are the very soul of the city.