Dublin is the primary and capital city of Ireland. It is the seat of the national parliament of Ireland, the Oireachtas, and is officially known in Irish as Baile Átha Cliath or Áth Cliath. The English name is derived from the Irish “Dubh Linn”, meaning "black pool". After the Scandinavian settlement, the Dubh Linn was a lake used to moor their ships. These lakes were covered during the early 18th century, and as the city expanded they were largely forgotten. The city has an urban population of over 1 million people (one of the fastest growing populations of any European capital) and is located on Ireland's east coast, at the mouth of the River Liffey. To the south, Dublin is bordered by a low mountain range.
The city’s most famous export is probably Guinness, which has been brewed at the St. James's Gate Brewery since 1759. Due to the city’s recent growth, many global pharmaceutical, computing and communications companies are now located in Dublin, for example, Microsoft, Google, Amazon, eBay and Facebook. Dublin has produced a great number of influential writers, including Oscar Wilde, Jonathan Swift (both alumni of Trinity College) and the creator of Dracula, Bram Stoker, as well as many world-famous actors like Colm Meaney, Colin Farrell and Sir Michael Gambon. The city has also produced several international recording artists, including U2, Westlife, Boyzone, Ronan Keating, Thin Lizzy and Sinéad O'Connor.
Dublin has more green spaces per square kilometre than any other European capital. The council plants around 5,000 trees annually and manages over 3,700 acres of parks. The most popular are the Herbert Park and Phoenix Park. The latter houses the residence of the President of Ireland, built in 1754, the Dublin Zoo, the official residence of the United States Ambassador, and Ashtown Castle. Many famous artists have performed concerts in the park, including Coldplay, Duran Duran and Red Hot Chili Peppers. One of Dublin's newest monuments is the stainless steel Spire of Dublin, or officially titled the "Monument of Light". Measuring 121.2 metres (398 ft) and replacing Nelson's Pillar, it is intended to mark Dublin's place in the 21st Century. During the day it maintains its steel look, but at dusk the monument appears to merge into the sky.
Accommodation in Dublin’s student residences
Dublin has three universities: the University of Dublin has 15,000 students and is the oldest university in Ireland, dating from the 16th century. Its sole constituent college, Trinity College, was established by Royal Charter in 1592 under Elizabeth I. The National University of Ireland (NUI) and the associated constituent university of University College Dublin (UCD) also have seats in Dublin. It should be understood that the halls of residence of the universities are designed primarily for students and not children or adults expecting a high level of luxury. However, with this in mind, the halls do meet a level of comfort that we expect most visitors to be happy with, and we will welcome any feedback where this is not the case.
Getting around Dublin
The M50 motorway, a semi-ring road runs around the south, west and north of the city. There have been talks of an eastern bypass for Dublin, which began in 2006 with the Dublin Port Tunnel, catering mainly to heavy vehicles. Dublin has a network of some 200 bus routes serving all areas of the city and suburbs. Most of these are controlled by Dublin Bus (Bus Átha Cliath). The Dublin Suburban Rail network is a system of five rail lines serving mainly commuters in the Greater Dublin Area. There are plans in place to build the Dublin Metro (underground) system. Since 2009, the city also has a public bicycle rental scheme, Dublin Bikes, using 450 silver bicycles and making Dublin the 17th city to employ the scheme, following cities like Copenhagen, Lyon, and Paris.