is a city on the rise and rise. Business in many sectors is booming
and the city id filled with tourists who flock to the ‘party
capital of Europe’ to sample the famous Irish craic (fun).
During much of the first half of the 20th century, strife and unrest
tore Dublin apart as it was involved in a violent
divorce from Britain. Despite ongoing attempts for a lasting peace
settlement, the religious and political troubles further north still
dominate Irish politics.
It is easy to see why tourists head to Dublin in
such large numbers. This vibrant, fun-loving city on the River Liffey
is full of fun pubs where the craic is spun with a well-polished
finish and the streets echo with the ghosts of luminaries, such
as James Joyce and WB Yeats. An great time to visit
is between April and October, when the weather is at its best, with
July and August being the busiest months. Increasingly the city
is becoming a popular destination throughout the year, with many
festivals, cultural and religious events and sporting fixtures.
Highlights not to miss include the early medieval Christchurch
Cathedral (Dublin’s oldest building), the streets
of Temple Bar, Phoenix Park (Europe’s largest urban park),
the National Gallery of Ireland and the treasures of the National
Museum of Ireland, home to Europe’s finest collection of prehistoric
gold artefacts. A wealth of buildings and museums (including Trinity College, Ireland’s oldest university, and
the Guinness Storehouse) convey a real sense of history. Indeed,
it is this living history, conveyed through the media of music and
literature, which has brought Dublin such acclaim. In the 20th century,
a string of writers and poets immortalised the city, none more so
than James Joyce whose Ulysses (1922), which depicts one day in
Dublin, is considered by literary critics to be the greatest novel
of that century.
Today Dubliners are no longer content to rest on the laurels of
this richly cultural history. Alongside the old bars, the museums
and the folk music in the pubs, there is a new wave of funky bars,
rebuilt city streets and confident moneyed 20-somethings –
an image that is carried forward by popular music acts like Westlife,
Corrs and, the biggest of them all, U2.
This new face of the Irish capital stems from the stunning economic
success of the country in recent years, which has been able to combine
extensive funding from the EU with sound financial acumen to stimulate
high levels of growth. Key industries include electronics, teleservices,
tourism and retail. Dublin has the youngest population in Europe
(with 41% under 25 years and 69% under 45 years). Its parks are
packed with mobile phone swinging young professionals enjoying the
summer, while during winter, they seek refuge in the numerous bars.
The ‘capital of Euro-cool’, is booming
and its citizens are intent on enjoying it while it lasts.
The economic boom has also had some negative implications. Prices
have increased dramatically and, although unemployment has steadily
decreased in recent years, the capital is struggling with the recent
influx of immigrants and asylum seekers, who have cultures often
at odds with Dublin’s own lifestyle. Despite all these changes,
the city and its people have remained the same. Alongside trend-setting
bars, clubs and designer shops it is still possible to find traditional
pubs, fiddlers in Temple Bar, even horse-drawn carts clip-clopping
along cobbled streets. It is a fascinating blend of tradition and
contemporary life. It is no wonder today, Irish eyes are well and