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Dublin (Irish: Baile Átha Cliath<ref>'Baile Átha Cliath' (or simply 'Áth Cliath') and 'Dubh Linn' are the two names of the city, the former being the one currently in official and common usage.</ref>) is the capital and the largest city of the Republic of Ireland, located near the midpoint of Ireland's east coast, at the mouth of the River Liffey and forms the centre of the Dublin Region. Originally founded as a centre of Viking settlement, the city has been Ireland's capital city since mediæval times.
The population within the city (i.e. the administrative area controlled by Dublin City Council) was 505,739 at the census of 2006. Beyond this, at the same census the Dublin Region population was 1,186,159, whilst the Greater Dublin Area had a figure of 1,661,185.
A person from Dublin is known as a Dubliner or colloquially as a Dub. They can also be mildly pejoratively called a Jackeen by other Irish people. In a 2003 survey, Dublin was found to be the best capital city in Europe to live in, and the Republic of Ireland was also the best country to live in. <ref>BBC record of Survey</ref>
The name Dublin is an anglicism of 'Dubh Linn' (Irish, meaning 'black pool'), though some doubt this derivation. Historically, in the old script used for the Irish language, 'bh' was written with a dot placed over the 'b' — thus appearing to be 'Dub Linn' or 'Dublinn'. The Norman-speaking English who arrived in Irish-speaking Ireland, omitted the 'dot' (or buailte in Irish), and spelled the town's name variously as 'Develyn' or 'Dublin'.
Meanwhile, the city's name in Modern Irish — 'Baile Átha Cliath' ('The Town of the Ford of the Reed Hurdles') — actually refers to the settlement, founded in 988 by High King Mael Sechnaill II, which adjoined the town of Dubh Linn proper, at the Black Pool.
Some sources have suggested that 'Dublin' is of Scandinavian origin, cf. Icelandic: 'djúp lind' ('deep pond'). However, the name 'Dubh Linn' pre-dates the arrival of the Vikings in Ireland, and the Old Norse (and modern Icelandic) name for Dublin is simply the words 'Dubh Linn' re-spelled as if they were Old Norse: 'Dyflinn' (correctly pronounced "Duev-linn" — indeed, the letter 'y' is still pronounced like the vowel in 'ewe' in Modern Norwegian, Swedish, etc., just as it was in Old Norse; Icelandic, while keeping the spelling, has changed this sound to /i/).
The earliest reference to Dublin is in the writings of Ptolemy, the Greek astronomer and cartographer, around the year A.D. 140, who called it Eblana Civitas. The settlement 'Dubh Linn' dates perhaps as far back as the first century BC; 'Baile Átha Cliath' or simply 'Áth Cliath' was founded in 988, and the two towns eventually became one.
The modern city retains the Anglicised Irish name of the former and the original Irish name of the latter. After the Norman invasion of Ireland, Dublin became Ireland's capital, with much of the power centring on Dublin Castle until independence. From the 14th to late 16th centuries, Dublin and the surrounding area - known as the Pale - was the largest area of Ireland under government control.
From the 17th century the city expanded rapidly, helped by the Wide Streets Commission. Georgian Dublin was, for a time, the second city of the British Empire after London. Much of Dublin's most notable architecture dates from this time. The Easter Rising of 1916 left the capital in an unstable situation and the Anglo-Irish War and Irish Civil War left the capital in ruins, with many of its finest buildings destroyed. The Irish Free State rebuilt much of the city's buildings and moved parliament to Leinster House, but took no bold tasks such as remodelling. After The Emergency (World War II), Dublin remained a capital out of time, modernisation was slow and finally the 1960s saw change begin. In recent years the infrastructure of Dublin has changed immensely, with enormous private and state development of housing, transport, and business. (See also Development and Preservation in Dublin). Some well-known Dublin street corners are still named for the pub or business which used to occupy the site before closure or redevelopment.
From 1922, following the partition of Ireland, it served as the capital of the Irish Free State (1922–1937) and now as the capital of the Republic of Ireland. (Many of these states co-existed or competed within the same timeframe as rivals within either British or Irish constitutional theory.)
Average temperature (red) and precipitations (blue) in Dublin
Dublin enjoys a maritime temperate climate characterised by mild winters, cool summers, and a lack of temperature extremes. Contrary to popular belief, Dublin does not experience as high rainfall as the West of Ireland, which receives twice that of the capital city. Dublin has fewer rainy days, on average, than London. The average maximum January temperature is 8°C (46°F), the average maximum July temperature is 20°C (68°F). The sunniest months, on average, are May and June, with 6 hours of sunlight daily (though actual daylight in these months is a lot more). The wettest months, on average, are December and August, with 74 mm (2.9 inches) of rain. The driest month is April, with 45 mm (1.7 inches) of rain. The total average annual rainfall (and other forms of precipitation) is 762 mm (29.5 inches), this is lower than the average rainfall in Sydney, New York City and even Dallas. Due to Dublin's high latitude, it experiences long summer days (around 19 hours of daylight) and short winter days (as short as 9 hours of daylight). Dublin, like the rest of Ireland, is relatively safe from common natural disasters (tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, tidal waves/tsunamis etc).
Strong winds from Atlantic storm systems can affect Dublin, though usually less severe than other parts of Ireland. Severe winds are most likely during mid-winter, but can occur anytime, especially between October and February inclusive. During one of the stormiest periods of recent times, a gust of 151 km/hr (94 mph) was recorded at Casement Aerodrome on 24 December1997.
Dublin has a microclimate, which makes the city a few degrees warmer than surrounding areas. There is also a slight temperature difference between the city centre and the city's suburbs, with the city centre slightly warmer, as it is more built up. There are even slight differences between the city centre <ref>Dublins weather</ref> and the Airport<ref>Dublin Airports weather</ref>, just 12 kilometres north.
The city is not noted for its temperature extremes due to its mild climate. The lowest recorded temperature was −12°C (10.4°F). The other extreme was 31°C (88°F), being the highest recorded. The main precipitation in winter is rain. The city can experience some snow showers during the months of November–April inclusive, but lying snow is rare (on average, only 4/5 days of the year). Hail occurs more often than snow, and is most likely during the winter/spring months. Another rare type of weather is thunder and lightning, which is most common around the summer months. Typically, the coldest months in Dublin are December, January and February. However, temperatures in Summer in recent years have been rising to substantially above average figures (e.g. 31°C/88°F recorded in July 2006, over 11°C higher than the maximum average for that month), especially during heat waves in 2003 and 2006.
Month<ref>Weather and climate data from BBC Weather.</ref>
Despite having a long tradition of emigration that continued up until the early 1990s, Dublin now has a sizeable number of immigrants especially from Poland, China, the United Kingdom, Nigeria and Romania. There are also considerable numbers from other fellow EU member states, the United States, Australia, New Zealand, and Russia, while over the last decade a large number of Irish who previously emigrated have returned to settle in the city.
There are also various other smaller specialised colleges, including private ones, in the city. Examples include The Gaiety School of Acting which hosts a two year intensive degree in acting, and Griffith College Dublin, which is the largest independent institute of third level education in the country, and located in the old Griffith Barracks.
Traditionally, a north south division has existed in Dublin with the dividing line provided by the River Liffey. The Northside is seen by some as working-class, while the Southside is seen as middle and upper middle class. Dublin postal districts reflect the North/South divide, with odd numbers being used for districts on the Northside, e.g: Phibsboro is in Dublin 7, and even numbers for ones on the Southside, e.g: Sandymount is in Dublin 4.
This division dates back centuries, certainly to the point when the Earl of Kildare built his residence on the then less regarded Southside. When asked why he was building on the South Side, he replied "Where I go, fashion follows me", and indeed he was promptly followed by most other Irish peers.
The Northside/Southside divide is punctuated by examples of Dublin "sub-culture" stereotypes, with upper-middle class constituents seen as tending towards an accent and demeanour synonymous with (but not exclusive to) the Dublin 4 postcode on the Southside (see Dublin 4, Ross O'Carroll-Kelly), and working-class Dubliners seen as tending towards accents and demeanour associated with (but not exclusive to) Northside and inner-city Dublin neighbourhoods.
The north-south divide has mellowed considerably in the past number of years. This is primarily due to the favourable economic conditions currently in Ireland and the emergence of the Celtic Tiger economy in Ireland. Correspondingly, Dublin has progressed to become one of the wealthiest cities in Europe.
The economic divide in Dublin is east-west as well as north-south (the east side of the city generally being wealthier than the west side, although this too is only a rough guide). There are significant social divisions evident between the coastal suburbs in the east of the city, including those on the northside, and the newer developments further to the west. In reality, however, colloquial usage by natives of Dublin has the River Liffey constitute the socio-economic boundary.
There is a vibrant night life in Dublin — the most internationally notorious area for these activities is the Temple Bar area south of the Liffey. This area has become synonymous with stag and hen parties and tourists, causing many locals to steer clear of the area. Temple Bar was, however, originally redeveloped as Dublin's cultural quarter and retains part of this spirit in the form of street performers, drummers, and many intimate small music venues. The area south east of Stephen's Green--Harcourt Street, Camden Street, Wexford Street and Leeson Street--has also become a centre for some of the most popular nightclubs and pubs in Dublin.
There are two large cinemas in the city centre; The Savoy Cinema and the Cineworld Cinema are located north of the Liffey. Alternative and special-interest cinema can be found in the Irish Film Institute in Temple Bar, and in the Screen Cinema on d'Olier St. Numerous larger cinemas can be found in the city's suburbs.
The City Council is a unicameral assembly made up of 52 members. These members are elected every five years from Local Election Areas. The party with the majority of seats decides who sits on what committee, what policies are followed, and who becomes Lord Mayor. Chaired by the Lord Mayor, the Council passes an annual budget for spending on housing, traffic management, refuse, drainage, planning, etc. The Dublin City Manager is responsible for the implementation of decisions of the City Council.
The Irish Government is based in the Government Buildings, a large building designed by Sir Aston Webb, the architect who created the Edwardian facade to Buckingham Palace. Initially what is now Government Buildings was designed for use as the Royal College of Science, but in 1921 the House of Commons of Southern Ireland met there. Given its location next to Leinster House, the Irish Free State government took over part of the building to serve as a temporary home for some ministries. However both it and Leinster House (originally meant to be a temporary home of parliament) became the permanent homes of the government and parliament respectively.
Dublin is the centre of both media and communications in Ireland, with many newspapers, radio stations, television stations and telephone companies having their headquarters there. Radio Teilifís Éireann (RTÉ) is Ireland's national state broadcaster, and has its main offices and studios in Donnybrook, Dublin. Fair City is the broadcaster's capital-based soap, located in the fictional Dublin suburb of Carraigstown. TV3, Channel 6, City Channel, Sky News Ireland and Setanta Sports are also based in Dublin. The main infrastructure and offices of An Post and the former state telephone company Eircom, as well as Meteor, Vodafone and O2 are located in the capital. Dublin is also the headquarters of important national newspapers such as The Irish Times and Irish Independent.
Dublin is also the main hub of the country's road network. The M50 motorway (the busiest road in Ireland), a semi-ring road runs around the south, west and north of the city, connecting the most important national primary routes in the State that fan out from the capital to the regions. A toll of €1.80 applies on what is called the West-Link, two adjacent concrete bridges that tower high above the River Liffey near the village of Lucan. Construction of the M50 took almost 20 years, with the final section opening in June 2005. A court case regarding the destruction of medieval ruins at Carrickmines Castle delayed the final completion of the route. The M50 currently has two traffic lanes going either direction but plans are afoot to increase that to three. The National Roads Authority also intends to increase capacity at many of the motorway's busiest junctions by building triple-grade interchanges instead.
To complete the ring road, an eastern bypass is also proposed for the city of Dublin. The first half of this project is currently under construction, the Dublin Port Tunnel. It is scheduled to open in late 2006 and will mainly cater for heavy vehicles. When finished, Dublin City Council hopes to ban all unnecessary trucks and lorries from the city quays.
Though originally intended to be a two-lane single-bore system catering specifically to HGV traffic, the Port Tunnel has been built to motorway standard as two separate tunnels to cater for all traffic (although HGV traffic will not be tolled). The tunnels are deeper than originally planned to reduce disturbance to residential areas, and were built one kilometre longer and with more ancillary works to facilitate this.
The capital is also surrounded by what have been termed by Dublin City Council as an inner and outer orbital route. The inner orbital route runs roughly around the heart of the Georgian city from St. Stephen's Green to Mountjoy Square and from the King's Inns to St Patrick's Cathedral. The outer orbital route runs largely along the natural circle formed by Dublin's two canals, the Grand Canal and the Royal Canal, as well as the North and South Circular Roads.
The bulk of the public transport system in Dublin is made up of bus services operated by Bus Átha Cliath (Dublin Bus), which operates a network of nearly 200 daytime routes (identified by number and sometimes suffixed with a letter, e.g. 40, 40A, 40B, 40C, 40D) and 24 "Nitelink" overnight services which run on Monday to Saturday nights, which are identified by a number suffixed with "N" e.g. 40N). Apart from some tourist buses, all Dublin Bus' services are one-person operated, and daytime fares are determined by the number of fare stages travelled through — fares are payable in coin and only the exact fare is acceptable — if passengers overpay, they are issued "change tickets" which must be presented at the Dublin Bus office in O'Connell Street to be converted to cash. Alternatively, various pre-paid tickets and passes can be bought from Dublin Bus or its agents, and are processed by a validating machine on the right of the entrance door of the bus. Nitelink buses charge a flat fare regardless of the distance travelled. Dublin bus has been criticised for over crowding and under serviced routes.
A number of smaller other bus companies provide services in Dublin as well.
Plans are underway to greatly expand the DART suburban railway network by boring a tunnel through Dublin City Centre allowing the creation of two separate DART lines. Each will run from the North West & South West of the city, through the city centre and then extend South and North respectively. This plan is made possible with the Dublin Interconnector rail project.
A two-line light rail/tram network called the Luas opened in 2004 and has proved popular in the (limited) areas it serves, although the lack of a link between the two lines is widely criticised. There are, however, ambitious plans for the Luas, with seven projects (including a link between the two lines) planned for the future. It is estimated that around 80,000 people use the Luas daily.
In 2006 in was announced by the Railway Procurement Agency that the Luas system reached profitability ahead of schedule, after only a year of operation. The Luas is now the only mass transit in the country to operate without Government assistance, and among the few in Europe
The Irish Government has launched a national transport plan which is expected to cost the government €34.4 billion over the next 10 years. Most of this will go towards the Dublin Port Tunnel, seven new Luas projects, two Metro lines, DART extensions and an underground station at St. Stephen's Green integrating all services. Another project is the Interconnector which will be an underground tunnel connecting Connolly and Heuston stations by rail, via St. Stephen's Green. This map shows how the Greater Dublin Area rail network is projected to look by 2015. By the time Transport 21 is complete, it is estimated that over 365 millon passenger journeys will be made in the Greater Dublin Area on all forms of public transport annually, or 1 million daily (on average).
During the Celtic Tiger years of the mid to late nineties a large number of pharmaceutical and information technology companies have located in Dublin and its suburbs and there are many Information and Communications Technology companies operating in and around the city. Microsoft's EMEA Operations Centre is located in Sandyford Industrial Estate to the south of the city and Google and Amazon have established operational bases in the city. Intel and Hewlett-Packard have large manufacturing plants in Leixlip, County Kildare, a suburb to the west of Dublin. Google, Yahoo! and PayPal (among others) also have their European headquarters in Dublin. Dublin is internationally recognised for its large amount of high-tech industrial estates, business centres and financial centres - which have led it to be known as the "Silicon Valley of Europe".
In 2005, around 800,000 people were employed in the Greater Dublin Area, of which around 600,000 were employed in the services sector and 200,000 were employed in the industrial sector. <ref>Dublin employment</ref>
The Celtic Tiger boom has led to a sharp increase in construction, which is now also a major employer, especially for immigrants. Redevelopment is taking place in large projects such as Dublin Docklands, Spencer Dock, "A New Heart for Dublin" and others, transforming once run-down industrial areas in the city centre. Dublin City Council seems to now have loosened the former limits on "high-rise" structures. The current tallest building, Liberty Hall, is only 59.4m tall; already under construction in the city is Heuston Gate, a 117m building (134m including spire). The 120m Britain Quay Tower and the 120m Point vilage tower have been approved.Construction has now started on the latter.