Curious about traveling to Ireland? Here are some fun facts and trivia tidbits about Dublin, Ireland's capital city
Dublin has been the largest settlement on the island since the Middle Ages. It's the capital city of Ireland, there are over 1.5 million residents and the pubs are good. This is all true, but these are hardly the facts to blow your socks off!
Here are ten trivia facts about the fair city Dublin:
What "Dublin" means in Irish
The name for Dublin in the Irish language is both Dubh Linn and Baile Átha Cliath. While walking around Dublin you’re more likely to see the latter on road signs. The literal meaning of Baile Átha Cliath is "Town of the Hurdled Ford."
Dubh Linn is derived from the Old Irish Gaelic, which has its literal meaning "Black Pool". The Dubh Linn was a lake used by the Vikings to moor their trade ships and was connected to the Liffey by the River Poddle.
Dublin's size, weather, and youthful population
The city of Dublin covers a land area of 44.5 square miles. The average temperature in January is 41°F (5 °C) and the July average is 63°F (17°C). It is estimated that 50 per cent of the city’s residents are under 25 years of age. My advice: dress warmly and party hard.
Twins and sister cities of Dublin
Dublin is twinned to cities Barcelona in Catalonia, Spain; Liverpool in the United Kingdom; Beijing, in China; and San Jose, in California.
The only bridge in Europe to have the same width and length
Dublin's O'Connell Bridge that covers the famed River Liffey is reckoned to be the only bridge in the European continent that has the same width as its length.
This present concrete structure was built in 1863, replacing a wooden bridge built in 1801. Amazingly, prior to that time, O'Connell Bridge was a rope structure that could only carry one person and a donkey at a time.
Famous Dubliners - from classic authors to beloved actors
Dublin has a renowned history in the literary and movie world with celebrated native names such George Bernard Shaw (dramatist, critic and Nobel Prize winner), James Joyce (writer and poet), Oscar Wilde (playwright, poet, essayist and novelist) and Dracula creator Bram Stoker to name but a few. Prominent Hollywood actors hailing from the city include Maureen O’Hara, Brendan Gleeson, Gabriel Byrne and Colin Farrell.
The Oldest Pub in Ireland
The "Oldest Pub in Ireland" is reputed to be located in Dublin. The pub is called the Brazen Head. There has been a pub on this site since 1198.
Handel's "Messiah" was first performed in Dublin
Handel’s classic "Messiah" was premiered for the first time on 13 April 1742 in Dublin at the New Music Hall in Fishamble Street, with 26 boys and five men from the St Patrick’s and Christchurch choir cathedrals taking part. It received its London premiere almost a year later.
Home of Ireland's popular musicians
Many of U2’s back catalog of albums were recorded in their home city. Windmill Lane Studios was the place where U2 recorded their early work and first three albums. The site at Windmill Lane Studios is covered in graffiti from fans that have paid pilgrimage from all over the world and is known as the "U2 Wall."
Famous Alumni of Trinity College
Trinity College, the ancient Dublin university set up at the request of Queen Elizabeth I, has had some memorable graduates including Oscar Wilde, Jonathan Swift and, surprisingly, Bram Stoker, creator of Dracula.
Dublin Mountains are... hills?!
None of the so-called Dublin Mountains is high enough to meet the criteria required to claim mountain status. The Sugarloaf is the tallest 'Dublin Mountain' yet measures a mere 423.3 meters (or 1388.7 feet) above sea level.
*Originally published in 2013. Updated March 2023.