Dublin Area Map
Dublin City and County has a population of about 1.3 million residents, with 1.9 million people living in the Greater Dublin area, about 40 percent of Ireland's total population. The city center is relatively compact, with most of the popular tourist sites located on the south side of the River Liffey, which splits Dublin in two and flows into the Irish Sea. The river is one of the nicest in Europe for walking, and you can wind your way from north to south to see some of the most famous Dublin attractions.
South of the Liffey
To the south of the Liffey, you'll find the essential Dublin attractions. Starting southeast at Dublin's main transportation hub – Heuston Station – there's the famous St. James's Gate Brewery (now known as the Guinness Storehouse), the centuries-old home of Ireland's national beverage. Tours of the brew process and tastings of "the black stuff" are offered.
From there, head east along the river to the Temple Bar area. Known for the medieval design of its streets, the majority of which are only open to foot traffic, the area is home to several popular pubs and restaurants, as well as many museums and art galleries like the Gallery of Photography and the Irish Film Institute.
A few blocks farther east you'll see the Houses of Parliament and Trinity College, the most prestigious university in Ireland. It is home to the famous "Book of Kells," an illuminated manuscript written by Irish monks in A.D. 800. Head a couple of blocks south of the university to browse the shops on Grafton Street, where some of Dublin's finest street musicians also play to the crowds.
For a taste of historic Dublin, wander south from Temple Bar to find Dublin's Old City. The area is home to some of Dublin's oldest structures, including two remaining segments of the Medieval City Walls and St. Patrick's Cathedral, the largest church in Ireland.
North of the Liffey
Across the river from Temple Bar on Dublin's north end, you'll find the main thoroughfare, O'Connell Street. The area boasts several historically significant buildings, including the Dublin General Post Office two blocks north of the river, the site where the bloody 1916 Easter Rising between the Irish Republican Army and the British government took place. Adjacent you'll find the Spire of Dublin, a 390-foot free-standing structure in the middle of the street. A few blocks west of O'Connell Street is Jameson Distillery Bow Street, which showcases one of Ireland's favorite beverages: whiskey.
North of the Liffey is famous Phoenix Park, the largest public park in Europe, covering 1,752 acres. Families frequently visit the park to see the Rodrigues fruit bats or Moluccan cockatoos of the Dublin Zoo. Dublin's northern half also contains some excellent Irish cultural centers, including the Dublin Writers Museum, which showcases the city's rich literary history.
Dublin's far-reaching outskirts also offer some fascinating sites, especially near the coast. About 12 miles northeast of Dublin city is Howth, a coastal town on a peninsula that offers great cliff-side views of the bay. Other great coastal sites can be found on Bull Island and St. Anne's Park in the neighborhood of Dollymount.