Dublin, the capital of the Ireland, is on Ireland’s east coast at the mouth of the River Liffey. Its historic buildings include Dublin Castle, dating to the 13th century, and the imposing St Patrick’s Cathedral, founded in 1191. City parks include the landscaped St Stephen’s Green and the huge Phoenix Park, containing Dublin Zoo. The National Museum of Ireland explores Irish heritage and culture.
The culture of Ireland includes customs and traditions, language, music, art, literature, folklore, cuisine and sports associated with Ireland and the Irish people. For most of its recorded history, Ireland's culture has been primarily Gaelic. It has also been influenced by Anglo-Norman, English and Scottish culture.
Due to large-scale emigration from Ireland, Irish culture has a global reach and festivals such as Saint Patrick's Day, Halloween, are celebrated all over the world. Irish culture has to some degree been inherited and modified by the Irish diaspora, which in turn has influenced the home country.
Though there are many unique aspects of Irish culture, it shares substantial traits with those of Britain, other English-speaking countries, other predominantly Catholic European countries, and the other Celtic nations.
The name Dublin comes from the Gaelic dubh linn or “black pool” – this pool was formed where the Poddle met the River Liffey at Dublin Castle
Attacked by Vikings in 837 AD, these invaders settled from 841 onwards. Dublin became the Vikings' largest city and trade centre. The Battle of Clontarf in 1014 saw the Vikings battle alongside the King of Dublin, King of Leinster and Sigtrygg Silkbeard, among others, against the High King of Ireland, Brian Boru. Brian’s forces were victorious, though he was killed. It is estimated that between 7,000 and 10,000 men were killed in this one day battle. The battle came to be seen as an event that freed the Irish from foreign domination, and Brian was hailed as a national hero.
In the 11th-12th Centuries, the Vikings adopted Christianity and founded Christ Church Cathedral. In 1169, the deposed Irish King MacMurrough sought help from the Normans in south-west Wales who, under their leader Richard FitzGilbert de Clare (Strongbow), seized Dublin. In 1171 Henry II landed with a great army, and made Dublin the capital of the Normans' Irish territory and the heart of the Norman and English colony. Christ Church Cathedral was rebuilt in the Gothic style and work began on St Patrick’s Cathedral.
English royal control of Ireland shrank during the 14th and 15th Centuries to coastal towns and an area round Dublin known as the Pale. From 1485-1603 the city played a crucial role when Tudor monarchs undertook a reconquest. In 1603 The Earl of Tyrone submitted and, for the first time, the Crown won control of the entire island.
Things were to change dramatically in the 20th Century with the 1916 Easter Rising, the War of Independence and the subsequent Civil War which eventually led to the establishment of the Republic of Ireland.
As the seat of English administration, Dublin was the setting for many key events during the Irish struggle for independence and you will find a number of historic buildings, such as the General Post Office on O'Connell Street, Dublin Castle and Kilmainham Gaol, where history comes alive.
Since the mid-1990s, an economic boom christened the ‘Celtic Tiger’ brought massive expansion and development to the city, including the creation of Dublin’s newest landmark, the Spire monument on O’Connell Street. Fuelled by the boom years, Dublin has grown to be the single largest conurbation in Ireland. Some 1.2m people live in the greater Dublin area, which equals 28% of the country's total population of 4.2m
The boom brought many new ethnic groups into the city and created a more international feel, particularly in the north inner city. Ireland has fallen on harder times in recent months, but Dublin is, if anything, more vibrant than ever.
Irish cuisine has evolved from centuries of social and political change, and the mixing of the different cultures. The traditional cuisine is founded upon the crops and animals farmed in its temperate climate.
Traditional Irish foods include Irish stew (made with lamb, mutton, or goat), shepherd's pie (meat and vegetables, topped with potato), bacon and cabbage (with potatoes), boxty (potato pancake), coddle (sausage, bacon, and potato), and colcannon (mashed potato, kale or cabbage, and butter).
Irish cuisine has adapted greatly and family dinners range from Italian to Thai, and Chinese to Spanish!