Getting Oriented

The heart of the city is the River Liffey, which runs east to west, splitting Dublin neatly in two. The more affluent Southside has a greater concentration of sights, and it can seem a world apart from the more working-class Northside. North or south, Dublin is compact and easily navigated, making it a great walking city.

  • St. Stephen's Green and Around. From elegant St. Stephen's Green to the stylish shopping stretch of Grafton Street and west to bustling Georges Street, this is the heart of Dublin. Majestic Trinity College and the always inventive Little Museum of Dublin also lie in this key area. South of the canal it stretches into the hip urban village that is Ranelagh.
  • Merrion Square and Around. The streets around Merrion Square and southeast of Trinity form the city's most important Georgian district; to the west of the square four major museums sit side by side. Farther south lie the Grand Canal and more Georgian splendor in upmarket Ballsbridge.
  • Grand Canal Dock and Around. No area of Dublin has undergone more exciting changes in recent years than this old industrial neighborhood east of the city center. "Silicon Docks," as some wags now call it, is now home to HQs for all the tech giants, plus a plethora of new hotels, music venues, and activities.
  • Temple Bar and Around. The cobblestone streets and small lanes bounded by Wellington Quay and Dame Street make up Dublin's trendiest—and liveliest—neighborhood. On weekends, the streets are packed with young Europeans, and locals tend to steer clear, favoring hipper spots like Ranelagh and Smithfield.
  • O'Connell Street and Around. Less affluent but more eloquent than the Southside, this neighborhood was once home to James Joyce; today it's the site of the Dublin Writers Museum and the James Joyce Centre. Other highlights are the grand Custom House, historic O'Connell Street, and Dublin's two great theaters–-the Abbey and the Gate. The artsy, urban surburb of Stoneybatter also falls into this area.
  • Liberties and Around. This former industrial district stretches from Christ Church west to that other Dublin shrine, the Guinness Brewery. Imposing Dublin Castle houses the Chester Beatty Library—arguably the most impressive museum in Ireland.
  • Phoenix Park and Around. Only a 20-minute walk from the city center, Phoenix Park, Europe's largest public city park, hugs the north bank of the Liffey.

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