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Dublin Destinations Guide

Dublin destinations guide is divided into north and south with the river Liffey acting as a physical, social and at times psychological dividing line. Traditionally the southside has been regarded as the wealthier end of town, and certainly from a visitor's point of view it does possess the majority of the city's historic sites as well as being the home of the newer, more upmarket centres for shopping and socializing.

The busy traffic intersection, College Green , which is framed by the elegant exteriors of Dublin's premier university Trinity College and the old eighteenth-century parliament building, now housing the Bank of Ireland , was once the central point of the old Viking city.

Stretching south of here is the pedestrianized Grafton Street, the city's commercial and social hub, leading to the stylish Georgian streets that surround St. Stephen's Green.

Heading directly west of Trinity College, however, will bring you to the narrow, cobbled lanes of the Temple Bar area, the centre for the city's nightlife, overlooked by the imposing facade of Dublin Castle , the seat of British rule until 1921. Further west still are Dublin's most important cathedrals, Christchurch and St Patrick's , it's near here that the rich smell of malting grain from the nearby Guinness brewery begins to fill the air.

On the northside of the river from the brewery is the historic Smithfield area, scene of the famous horse sales and home to the Jameson Whiskey distillery, east of which is the city's main thoroughfare, O'Connell Street from which the rebellion was launched that resulted in Irish independence.


Pubs are an integral part of Dublin's social life and an essential part of any visit. The charm of most of Dublin's older pubs derives from the fact that they're simple, no-nonsense places, the better ones unchanged for decades, where you can get a good pint of Guinness and the people are friendly.

There are over 800 pubs and bars in the city, where you're likely to find music and other entertainment.

Clubs are by nature volatile. There are two distinct club scenes in Dublin. The first is an eclectic collection - including the new, much talked-about chic clubs - scattered around the city centre. Most are hard to get into - that's part of their cachet - and expensive at the weekends. The second, is based in and around Leeson Street, southeast of St Stephen's Green. The clubs here do, however, serve a purpose: a string of basement places that are busy after everything else has shut, these are the clubs to hit at two or three in the morning if you're really desperate to go on partying. Most have no entry fee but serve very expensive drinks - they're at their best Thursday to Sunday from around 1am till dawn.

Dublin has a large number of cinemas - almost all of them on and around O'Connell Street - showing mainstream films. All Dublin's cinemas operate an enlightened policy of cheap seats before 5pm seven days a week. The peculiarities of the film distribution system mean that new movies are often released earlier in Ireland than in Britain.

Dublin may not be the gastronomic capital of the world, but there's plenty of choice - nearly all of it south of the Liffey - for both lunchtime and evening eating. Café society has reached Dublin in a big way in recent years, providing a new range of chic and trendy locations - in and around Grafton Street and Temple Bar - for all-day eating and drinking, and on Sundays many more places open up for sustaining brunches. At lunchtime, Dublin's many pubs usually offer the best value: you can usually get soup and sandwiches and often much more substantial, traditional meals. The cheapest fast-food outlets - everything from Pizzaland and Wimpy to cheap Chinese and the ubiquitous kebab houses - are centred around O'Connell Street.

In the evening there's no shortage of restaurants. The spectrum of cuisines on offer is impressively wide, ranging from Egyptian, Lebanese, Russian and Cajun to the more familiar French, Italian and Chinese. Several restaurants offer traditional Irish fare, and there's also a number of good seafood places and plenty of vegetarian options. The cheaper, livelier restaurants are concentrated around the Temple Bar area, between Dame Street and the Liffey, while more expensive establishments are scattered throughout the city, with a concentration around St Stephen's Green.

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