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IRELAND : The capital DUBLIN

Dublin is Ireland’s capital as well as the capital of the county Dublin in the province of Leinster. Dublin is situated almost in the middle of  the east coast of Ireland. Through the city passes the river Liffey. The beauty of the surrounding country, combined with its maritime position, give to the metropolis of Ireland a charm possessed by few cities.

Dublin was founded by the Vikings around 988. It is now a metropolis with more than 1 million inhabitants. The name “Dubh Linn” means black water or black pond. According to the Greek astronomer Ptolemy, a city with the name “Eblana” stood on this spot.

The town later appears in history as Dubh-linn (Gaelic for “Black Pool”), the inhabitants of which won (AD291) a military victory over the armed forces of the kingdom of Leinster. Baile Átha Cliath, the present official name, is believed to have been applied to the settlement at a subsequent date. In Irish, the city is called “Baile Átha Cliath”. Baile means “city”, Atha is a wadable area and Cliath is the name of a system of wickerwork that was used to fortify the bottom of the wadable river.

The city occupies a generally flat site, which is bisected in an eastern and western direction by the Liffey. The river is spanned by ten bridges, notably O'Connell's Bridge, which links the main thoroughfares of the city. Many of Dublin's historic edifices are in the old section of the city, south of the Liffey. Dublin Castle, the nucleus around which the modern town developed, formerly housed the offices of the British viceroy of Ireland. Most of this structure, which occupies a ridge overlooking the river, was completed in the 16th century and later, but parts of it date from early in the 13th century. 

The cultural centers include the National Museum, which contains numerous Irish antiquities; the National Gallery, with valuable collections of painting and sculpture; and the Abbey Theatre

Even though it has shown recent signs of slowing down, "the Celtic Tiger" -- the nickname given to the roaring Irish economy -- has turned Dublin into a boomtown. Elegant shops and hotels, galleries, art-house cinemas, coffeehouses, and a stunning variety of restaurants have sprung up on almost every street in the capital.  Roughly half of the Irish Republic's population of 3.6 million people live in Dublin and its suburbs. It's a city of young people -- astonishingly so. Students from all over Ireland attend Trinity College and the city's dozen other universities and colleges.

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