Welcome to IDUG Dublin

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Written by Bill Kearney (IBM's Dublin lab director)


Brief History of Dublin

Dublin was established as a Viking settlement in the early middle ages.The Viking settlers created the Kingdom of Dublin, which was the oldest and longest lasting of the Norse Kingdom's in the British Isles.  It existed for over 300 years before finally being conquered in 1170 during the Norman invasion of Ireland.

Over the next several centuries, Dublin was a relatively small fortified city that was the capital of the invading Anglo-Norman forces.  It was under constant threat of attack from the surrounding native Irish clans.In the 15th century, Dublin was incorporated into the English Crown as The Pale, which was a narrow strip of English settlement along the eastern
seaboard.  The Tudor conquest of Ireland in the 16th century spelt a new era for Dublin, with the city enjoying a renewed prominence as the centre of administrative rule in Ireland.  As the city continued to prosper during the 18th century, Georgian Dublin became, for a short period, the second largest city of the British Empire and the fifth largest city in Europe,
with the population exceeding 130,000.

The vast majority of Dublin's most notable architecture dates from this period.  During the 19th century, Dublin suffered a decline due The Act of Union in 1800 which moved Ireland’s administrative head to Westminster. Since 1997, the landscape of Dublin has changed immensely.  The city was at the forefront of Ireland's rapid economic expansion during the Celtic Tiger
period, with enormous private sector and state developments of housing, transport and business.

Dubliners or Dubs

Garrulous, amiable and witty, Dubliners at their ease are great hosts.  To experience Dubliners at their most comfortable and convivial, you’ll have to spend some time in a pub.  Everyone has their favourite pub: for some it’s a never-changing traditional haunt; for others, it’s wherever the 'craic' is!

Dublin has produced some of the finest literary minds of the 19th and 20th centuries, including Nobel laureates William Butler Yeats, George Bernard Shaw and Samuel Beckett.  Other influential writers and playwrights include Oscar Wilde, Jonathan Swift and the creator of Dracula, Bram Stoker.

Arrival and Commuting to the Conference Hotel

Dublin Airport is located approximately 10 km north of Dublin city centre. It is served by a large number of buses and taxis.  The private bus company Aircoach (route 700) offers services from Dublin Airport, Terminals 1 and 2, departing every 15 minutes to the Double Tree by Hilton for €8 single fare and €13 return fare.   A taxi fare costs  approximately €30. The
Double Tree by Hilton is located on the south side of Dublin in an area called Dublin 4 which is popular for both prime residential houses and embassies.

Weather and Time Zone

Local time is GMT.  Irish weather is unpredictable and there is always potential for rain.  The temperature will probably be in the range of 5 to 12 degrees Celsius.  Ireland enjoys a mild climate that is greatly influenced by the Atlantic Ocean but doesn't experience the extreme cold as other countries at similar latitude.  A waterproof coat and umbrella are recommended.

Monetary Matters

Currency is the Euro.  The best option for public transport is to buy a Leap Card which can be used to pay for individual journeys using travel credit.  These are available for purchase at the airport and various locations in the city.  A €5 refundable deposit and €5 minimum credit are required.  Public buses do not give change so the exact fare will be needed.  Taxis are plentiful and most drivers will have a good knowledge of Dublin.

ATM machines are widely available throughout the city and at the airport. Visa and MasterCard credit cards are widely accepted and some places also accept American Express.

Literary Heritage

For its relatively small size and population, Dublin’s people have exerted a significant influence on world literature.

  • James Joyce captured much of daily life in Dublin over 100 years ago in his books Ulysses and Dubliners.
  • Bram Stoker is best known for his 1897 Gothic horror novel Dracula.
  • George Bernard Shaw was the only person to have been awarded both a Nobel Prize in Literature in 1925 and an Academy Award for Best Adapted
  • Screenplay 'Pygmalion' in 1938 which was adapted as the musical 'My Fair Lady'.
  • Brendan Behan was once asked if he was a writer with a drink problem, he responded ‘No, he was a drinker with a writing problem’
  • Samuel Beckett was awarded a Nobel Prize for Literature in 1969.  One of the bridges across the Liffey river, erected in 2009, is named after Beckett
  • Other famous literary Irish figures include Oscar Wilde, Jonathan Swift, Patrick Kavanagh and William Butler Yeats
  • Modern examples include Seamus Heaney who won the 1995 Nobel Prize for Literature.

Music and Dance Heritage

The harp can be described as Ireland's strongest national symbol demonstrated by its historic use on Irish coinage, as an emblem by the police force and even by one of Ireland's most marketable products, Guinness. The triangular shaped harp found in Irish culture dates from about the 11th century.

The fiddle is one of the most popular instruments in Irish traditional music and first arrived on these shores in the late 17th century. The Uilleann pipes can claim to be the most 'Irish' instrument of all and are sometimes referred to as the 'Irish Pipes' to distinguish them from the older Scottish bagpipes.  A 'full-set' consists of a chanter, bag, bellows, drones and regulators, the basic version of which is in existence since at least the year 1749. The flute dates from slightly later and only became common in Irish tradition in the late 19th century.  The bodhrán is the standard form of percussion found in Irish traditional music and although there is reference to it from the early to mid- nineteenth century, it only became a regular feature of music sessions in the 1960s.  More recent instruments introduced into Irish traditional music in the late 19th and early 20th centuries include the one-row melodeon, two-row accordion, concertina and the banjo.

Famous traditional music groups include The Dubliners and The Chieftains. Leading examples in the non-traditional music space include U2 and Enya.

Irish dancing or Irish dance is a group of traditional dance forms originating in Ireland which can broadly be divided into social dances and performance dances.  Irish social dancing can be divided further into céilí and set dancing.  Irish set dances are quadrilles, danced by four couples arranged in a square, while céilí dances are danced by varied formations (céilí) of two to sixteen people.  In addition to their formation, there are significant stylistic differences between these two forms of social
dance.

Irish step dancing, popularised in 1994 by the world famous show Riverdance is notable for its rapid leg and foot movements, body and arms being kept largely stationary.  The solo step dance is generally characterised by a controlled and rigid upper body, straight arms and back, and quick, precise movements of feet and legs.  The solo dances can either be in "soft shoes"
or "hard shoes".

Sports

Number one sport in Ireland is the national games of Gaelic Football and Hurling.  Gaelic Football has similarities to Aussie Rules while Hurling is similar to Hockey and played with a metre long stick and ball with raised ridges and noted for its speed.  The national stadium of the Gaelic Athletic Association, Croke Park, is the largest stadium in Ireland and located on the north of the city.

National games are followed in popularity by soccer and rugby and their national stadium, The Aviva Stadium, is close to the conference hotel.  The local provincial rugby team, Leinster, also play close to the conference hotel in the RDS venue.

Temple Bar

Temple Bar has always been popular – the Vikings set up camp here as far back as 795 AD.  Their settlement remains can be seen in Dublin Castle today.  In the 17th century, British diplomat, Sir William Temple built his grand residence and gardens on the site, the name stuck and Temple Bar was born.

Temple Bar has the highest density of pubs in Dublin and popular venues include The Palace Bar, The Temple Bar Pub, Oliver St John Gogarty's and The Auld Dubliner.  The streets are often lined with musicians and performers and the area has a great atmosphere.  Some pubs can be extremely busy, especially at the weekends.

The Clarence Hotel is a four-star 50-room hotel located on Wellington Quay, in the Temple Bar neighbourhood, on the River Liffey.  It was built in 1852, and bought by U2 lead singer Bono and lead guitarist The Edge in 1992.

Sites and Places to Visit within Easy Reach of the Double Tree by Hilton
and City Centre

St Stephen’s Green is Ireland’s best known Victorian public park and was created in 1663.  The current layout was designed and built in 1880 and was financed by Arthur Guinness.

The Shelbourne Hotel on St Stephen's Green has been the location of several key moments of Irish history.  The Irish Constitution was drafted in 1922 in room 112, which is now known as the Constitution Room.

Trinity College was built in 1592 by the Tudor Kings of England as a Protestant only university.  It was conceived as an attempt to solidify Protestant dominance in Ireland.  The library houses a vast collection of important manuscripts, the most famous of which is the Book of Kells. Authors Bram Stoker, Jonathan Swift and poet Oscar Wilde have all attended
Trinity College.

Dublin Castle off Dame Street, was until 1922, the seat of the United Kingdom Government's administration in Ireland, and is now a major Irish Government complex.  Most of it dates from the 18th century.

Leinster House is the two house Irish Parliament called Dail Eireann (Assembly of Ireland) and was used by Irish architect John Hoban as inspiration for his design of the White House in DC.

Grafton Street is one of Dublin’s premiere shopping streets, home to department stores and boutique shopping centres.

Sites to visit if you have a half day

10 minutes’ walk from the Double Tree by Hilton is a commuter train line called the Dart (Dublin Area Rapid Transit).  Fares with a Leap Card cost approximately €3.

Take this train north to Howth or Malahide or south to Dun Laoghaire.  All have nice marinas, shops and restaurants.  Malahide has a Castle.  Dun Laoghaire is a ferry and mail port.  Howth has light house on the pier and has a selection of walking paths on Howth Head cliff top.

Trivia

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 Átha Cliath is "Ford of the Reed Hurdles."  Dublin or 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 O'Connell Bridge over the famed River Liffey is reckoned to be the only bridge in the European continent that has the same width as its length. It is estimated that 50% of the city’s residents are under-25 years of age.

The "Oldest Pub in Ireland" is reputed to be located in Dublin. The pub, called the Brazen Head, has been  on this site since 1198.

Car registration number plates are very logical in Dublin eg if you see a car with a number 151 D 2100 it means it was registered in the first half of 2015 (151).  152 would be the second half of the year.  D is the County of Dublin.  2100 is the two thousand one hundredth car registered in Dublin in the first half of the year 2015.

Gaelic is the native language of Ireland and the majority of signs will be in Gaelic and English. Street names are Gaelic on top and English underneath.  If a bus has 'An Lar' as the destination, it means 'centre' and the direction is towards the city centre.  Gaelic words to know include:
      'Cead Mile Failte' means a hundred thousand welcomes
      'Craic' means having fun
      'Slainte' means cheers
      'Garda' means Policeman
      'Baile Atha Cliath' means Dublin
      'Slán abhaile' means safe home and used to bid good bye

IBM in Ireland

IBM will celebrate 60 years in Ireland in 2016.  IBM in Ireland's head office is located near the conference hotel.  The IBM Technology Campus on the west of Dublin city can be classified as a microcosm of IBM with Research, Services Hubs, Software Development, Data Centre and an Executive Briefing Centre.  Recent additions to the Campus include IBM's largest global Digital Sales Centre, a Design Studio and the Watson Experience Centre.

Gallery

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The Aviva Stadium, Dublin

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Phoenix Park, Dublin

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Through the 'eye' of the Samuel Beckett Bridge - The Custom House, The
Spire and Liberty Hall, Dublin

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Malahide Castle, Co Dublin

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