Green, lively and fashionable
Set on the banks of the River Liffey, Dublin is a splendidly monumentalcity with a cosmopolitan feel and an internationally renowned nightlife.
A shore excursion on your MSC Northern Europe cruise can be the opportunity to discover Dublin’s elegance and essentially Georgianarchitecture, hailing from when the Anglo-Irish gentry invested their income in new townhouses.
Dublin’s fashionable Southside is home to the city’s trendy bars, restaurants and shops – especially in the cobbled alleys of Temple Bar leading down to the River Liffey – and most of its historic monuments, centred on Trinity College, Grafton Street and St Stephen’s Green. But the Northside, with its long-standing working-class neighbourhoods and inner-city communities, is the real heart of the city.
Across the bridges from Temple Bar are the shopping districts around O’Connell Street, where you’ll find a flavour of the old Dublin. Here, you’ll also come across a fair amount of graceful residential streets and squares, with plenty of interest in the museums and cultural hotspots around the elegant Parnell Square.
The Vikings sited their assembly and burial ground near what is now College Green, a three-sided square where Trinity College is the most famous landmark. Founded in 1592, Trinity College played a major role in the development of a Protestant Anglo-Irish tradition: right up to 1966, Catholics had to obtain a special dispensation to study here, though now they make up the majority of the students.
The stern grey and mellow red-brick buildings are ranged around cobbled quadrangles in a larger version of the quads at Oxford and Cambridge. The Old Library owns numerous Irish manuscripts; pride of place goes to the illustrated ninth-century Book of Kells, which contains the four Gospels written in Latin on vellum, the script adorned with patterns and fantastic animals intertwined with the text’s capital letters.