If you thought Dublin was all Guinness and pubs, think again. Discover some of the interesting facts about the much-loved Irish capital, from how it got its quirky name to its claim to literary fame.
It has fewer pubs than other capitals
It’s no secret that Dubliners love a good pint, but you may be surprised to learn that there are fewer pubs here than in any other European capital. But don’t think this means you’ll go thirsty. With more than 1000 pubs in the capital alone, there are plenty of places to down ale alongside the locals. My pick is The Brazen Head, the country’s oldest pub and one of the very first in the world. Dating back to 1198, and tucked around the corner from the famous Guinness brewery, it makes a fitting place to soak up the city’s history.
Its mountains aren’t really mountains
They may bear the title of ‘mountain’, however none of Dublin’s mountains are actually high enough to meet the criteria to claim this status. In fact, 'the Sugarloaf,' which is the highest of the bunch, is a mere 501 m above sea level. But don’t let this stop you from visiting them as their verdant slopes and dense woodlands make for a great trip outside the city.
Its name means ‘black pool’
Walking around Dublin you’ll see plenty of signs bearing the name ‘Dubh Linn’, which in Gaelic means ‘black pool’. The city got this name from the dark lake that once formed where the rivers Poddle and Liffey met. But don’t go looking for the lake today as it has long since been covered over with both the Dubh Linn Gardens and Dublin Castle. The other name you’re sure to hear the city referred to is ‘Baile Átha Cliath’, Dublin’s official Irish name, which roughly translates to ‘The Town of the Ford of Reed Hurdles’.
You can find St Valentine here
For all the romantics out there, don’t miss stopping by the Whitefriar Street Carmelite Church where you can find the remains of St Valentine, the patron saint of love. Hidden away in one of the city’s most beautiful churches you’ll find a shrine to the revered saint, where you can light a candle to flicker alongside the hundreds of others that are set in front of his statue every day.
It’s a UNESCO City of Literature
Booklovers get packing, because when it comes to important literary cities, it doesn’t get much better than this. In fact, Dublin has been deemed so important it was the UNESCO City of Literature in 2010. While Ulysses writer James Joyce is often touted as the city’s most famous literary son, playwright and novelist Oscar Wilde, Dracula creator Bram Stoker and Nobel Prize and Oscar winner George Bernard Shaw make up some of the many names on the list. The city has embraced this heritage and several tours and literary walks are now on offer. My pick is the literary pub crawl, where actors perform some of the famous works in the city’s finest drinking holes.