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Video of Dublin City Centre, County Dublin, Republic of Ireland
Dublin Irish: Baile Átha Cliath, meaning "town of the hurdled ford", is the capital
and most populous city of Ireland. The English name for the city is derived
from the Irish name Dubhlinn, meaning "black pool". Dublin is situated near the midpoint
of Ireland's east coast, at the mouth of the River Liffey and the centre of the Dublin
Region. Originally founded as a Viking settlement, it evolved into the Kingdom of
Dublin and became the island's principal city following the Norman invasion.
The city expanded rapidly from the 17th century; it was briefly the second largest
city in the British Empire and the fifth largest in Europe. Dublin entered a period
of stagnation following the Act of Union of 1800, but it remained the economic centre
for most of the island. Following the partition of Ireland in 1922, the new parliament,
the Oireachtas, was located in Leinster House. Dublin became the capital of the Irish
Free State and later the Republic of Ireland.
Dublin has many landmarks and monuments dating back hundreds of years. One of the
oldest is Dublin Castle, which was first founded as a major defensive work on the
orders of King John of England in 1204, shortly after the Norman invasion of Ireland
in 1169, when it was commanded that a castle be built with strong walls and good
ditches for the defence of the city, the administration of justice, and the protection
of the King’s treasure. Largely complete by 1230, the castle was of typical Norman
courtyard design, with a central square without a keep, bounded on all sides by tall
defensive walls and protected at each corner by a circular tower. Sited to the south-east
of Norman Dublin, the castle formed one corner of the outer perimeter of the city,
using the River Poddle as a natural means of defence.
One of Dublin's newest monuments is the Spire of Dublin, or officially titled "Monument
of Light". It is a 121.2 metres (398 ft) conical spire made of stainless steel and
is located on O'Connell Street. It replaces Nelson's Pillar and is intended to mark
Dublin's place in the 21st century. The spire was designed by Ian Ritchie Architects,
who sought an "Elegant and dynamic simplicity bridging art and technology". During
the day it maintains its steel look, but at dusk the monument appears to merge into
the sky. The base of the monument is lit and the top is illuminated to provide a
beacon in the night sky across the city.
Many people visit Trinity College, Dublin to see the Book of Kells in the library
there. The Book of Kells is an illustrated manuscript created by Irish monks circa.
800 AD. The Ha'penny Bridge; an old iron footbridge over the River Liffey is one
of the most photographed sights in Dublin and is considered to be one of Dublin's
most iconic landmarks.
Other popular landmarks and monuments include the Mansion House, the Anna Livia monument,
the Molly Malone statue, Christ Church Cathedral, St Patrick's Cathedral, Saint Francis
Xavier Church on Upper Gardiner Street near Mountjoy Square, The Custom House, and
Áras an Uachtaráin.