The capital of the Republic of Ireland is situated on Dublin Bay, overlooking the Irish sea that divides Ireland and Great Britain. In 1973, the Republic joined the Common Market, and as a result enormous amounts of money have been poured into the country in the last few decades. Today, Ireland is one of Europe's fastest-growing economies and Dublin is at the centre of this economic revolution. Historical areas have been restored, whilst new shopping centres, restaurants, clubs and bars have given Dublin the feel of a true commercial centre.
Dublin Airport is 10km north of the city centre, connecting to all major European cities (including numerous from the UK) and to Boston, Baltimore, Chicago, New York and Los Angeles in the US. Flights from further afield (Australasia or Africa) are usually routed through London. Aer Lingus is Ireland's national airline, and the budget carrier Ryanair is also an Irish company that serves Dublin.
There are ferry services from various ports in the UK to Dublin, including Liverpool and Holyhead, that will take you to Dublin Port or Dun Laoghaire. Alternatively, you could sail from Fishguard in south east Wales to Rooslare-Europort in Co.Wexford which is a few hours drive or train ride from Dublin.
Dublin Port is close to the city centre and can be easily reached by bus. Dun Laoghaire Harbour is located opposite Dun Laoghaire DART (rail) station, and there are regular trains and buses connecting it with the city centre, which is around 12km away.
Weather wise, Dublin is typically northern European in its unpredictability. The city can get rain at any time of year, though if you’re wanting sun your best bet is to come in May, which can enjoy some beautiful, balmy days.
September can have its own merits with late sunny, mild days and some lovely early Autumn colour. The benefits of both May and September are that they’re outside of peak season so you may be able to get a better deal for flights and accommodation.
Public Bank Holidays in Ireland (there are nine, including days in March, May, June, August and October) bring a lot of people to Dublin looking for a quick getaway or weekend break. Many festivals and sporting events take place in Dublin during these times and it's advisable to book well in advance to ensure you don’t get stung by price hikes or lack of availablity.
Another popular time to visit Dublin is, of course, for Saint Patrick's Day, celebrated all around the world on March 17th each year, but nowhere more authentically or vociferously as on home soil in the Emerald Isles.
Dublin is blessed with numerous attractions, both indoors and outdoors, for visitors to enjoy. Dublin Castle, Christchurch Cathedral, and Trinity College are three of the city’s most impressive buildings, steeped in history and with tours available of each.
For a cost-free dip into Dublin culture, the National Gallery on Merrion Square and the Museum of Modern Art in Kilmainham are both free of charge, as are the national museums - the Museum of Decorative Arts and History in Collins Barracks and the National Museum of Archaeology on Kildare Street.
Dublin is also home to one of the world’s most famous theatre venues, the Abbey Theatre, located on Lower Abbey Street east of the city centre on the north side of the river. Other prominent Dublin theatre halls include The Gate, Gaiety Theatre Civic Theatre, The Liberty Hall Centre, The Pavilion and The Lambert Puppet Theatre.
Dublin's Phoenix Park is vast, twice the size of New York's Central Park and almost 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, the impressively tall Wellington Monument and large areas of open parkland.
Dublin's most popular tourist attraction is the Guinness Storehouse located just outside the city centre at St James' Gate, and dedicated to all things Guinness. Tours suitably finish with a pint of 'the black stuff' in the Gravity Bar which overlooks the city.
TheTemple Bar area is full of cultural attractions and institutions including the Irish Film Institute, the Gallery of Photography, Arthouse and the Temple Bar Music Centre. This part of Dublin is also the nightlife hub of the city, though it is extremely touristy. For something a little more home-grown, visit strips such as Baggott Street, South William Street and Wexford/Camden Street.