County Dublin is situated on the East Coast of Ireland and is bordered by counties Meath, Wicklow & Kildare, with the Irish Sea to the East. It’s situated in the province of Leinster and is one of the smallest counties in Ireland. Its main town is of course Dublin city, Ireland’s capital. Geographically Dublin is divided into the city centre and city suburbs, which are separated into north and south depending on which side of the famous River Liffey they’re on (Southside and Northside), North County Dublin, South County Dublin and West County Dublin. Read on for more…
The city/suburbs of Dublin are divided North and South by the River Liffey with its suburbs spreading out from the city as far as the M50 motorway. For the Northside of the city O’Connell Street can be used as a starting point and for the South of the city, Grafton Street. Dublin is a top European destination with many attractions and amenities to fill your days. The city centre is small in size and most places are a pleasant stroll away.
A tip to remember when travelling around Dublin: the postal codes on the Northside are odd numbers and on the Southside are even numbers. Also, Dublin is a city that has a very good transport network and you’re never far from a bus, dart, taxi or Luas tram service.
The Northside of the city is home to the main thoroughfare of Dublin, O’Connell Street. O’Connell Street stems from the River Liffey heading northbound. This is a popular shopping district (Henry Street) with many market areas and back street nooks and crannies. It’s also home to many museums and theatres. East of O’Connell Street, taking either Talbot Street, Abbey Street or Eden Quay, are the North Docklands Area and Connolly Street Train Station. Further towards the coast is where Dublin Port is situated. Heading north along O’Connell Street and to the east you’ll find the well-known North Georgian Area. Continuing eastwards along Parnell Street and Summerhill is Mountjoy Square and Croke Park GAA Stadium. Northeast from here are the suburbs of Clontarf, Howth, Raheny, Coolock and Fairview.
At the northern end of O’Connell Street is the bustling area of Parnell Square, the oldest square in Dublin City. The suburbs of Philsboro, Glasnevin, Beaumont and Santry border this.
Directly west of O’Connell Street, along by the River Liffey, are the Legal Quarter and Smithfield. Continuing westward you’ll come to the Phoenix Park, Europe’s largest enclosed park and home of Dublin Zoo. Northwest of O’Connell Street are the suburbs of Cabra and Finglas.
The Southside of Dublin City is an interesting contrast to the Northside with an abundance of attractions and old buildings. Crossing the Liffey via O’Connell Bridge you’ll be on Westmoreland Street and a short distance from here southbound is Grafton Street. It runs from College Green, northern end, to St Stephens Green to the south. It’s a popular shopping district and home to many of Dublin’s Literary Pubs.
Standing on Grafton Street facing northwest is the well-known area of Temple Bar. This cobble-stoned area with fascinating medieval streets and Georgian buildings is full of life day and night. Directly west from here along either Essex Street or Essex Quay is the Viking/Medieval Area. Follow along Cornmarket and you’ll be in the Liberties. Further on from here is Heuston Train Station. The suburbs of Island Bridge, Chapelizod and Ballyfermot are to the west of this area.
To the Northeast of Grafton Street, going east along Nassau Street, you’ll find the entrance to Trinity College continuing on from here you’ll be in the South Docklands Area. If you follow the Liffey end of Grafton Street along Nassau Street eastwards you’ll come to Merrion Square. This square is a superb Georgian area with red brick houses and mature gardens. Further south is Lansdowne Rugby Ground, which is currently under renovations.
On the southern end of Grafton Street is the picturesque area of St Stephens Green, which can be entered through the Dublin Fusiliers Arch opposite St Stephens Green Shopping Centre. To the southeast of the city centre are the much sought after leafy suburban areas of Sandymount, Ballsbridge, Donnybrook and Belfield. Directly south are the areas of Ranelagh, Rathmines and Rathgar.
Southwest of Grafton Street and beyond the Grand Canal are the suburban areas of Crumlin and Walkinstown.
Dublin city/ and its suburbs are encircled by the M50 motorway, which allows you to travel easily to any part of the county. This is a busy motorway, but is well signposted with a toll plaza between junctions 6-7. Most of the junctions are busy with very high levels of traffic at times, especially at peak times. Junction 7, The Red Cow Roundabout which is commonly known amongst locals as the “Mad Cow Roundabout”, can sum this up. Junctions 1 & 2 (start & finish) of the M50, is where Dublin Port is situated, if entering Dublin from here you’ll have good accessibility to the rest of the county and city.
North County Dublin…
North County Dublin stretches from Drumcondra, a suburb just north of the city centre, to Richardstown on the Meath border. It’s a picturesque, leafy part of the county with a diverse range of scenery from rugged coastline to rural greenbelts. Dublin International Airport is also located here near the village of Swords.
At Junction 3 (M50), you will see directions for Dublin International Airport, Irelands busiest airport, situated 10km along the M1. Junction 3 will also be signposted for the picturesque seaside town of Malahide with its popular park and gardens and the famous Tara’s Palace.
The historical town of Swords with its 12th Century Castle can be accessed from the M1. This is one of the main towns in North County Dublin where you are guaranteed a memorable visit. From Swords travelling inland and northbound you can visit the rural towns of Oldtown, Garristown and Naul.
If you travel further along the M1 you’ll find directions (east bound) to the popular coastal towns of Rush (M1, R127, R128), Skerries (M1, R127) and Balbriggan (M1, R122). The scenery along this stretch of Dublin is breathtaking with long white sandy beaches and picturesque views of a rugged coastline.
From Junction 4 of the M50 you have access to Ballymun. This area became well known in the 1970′s for highlighting the real issues around poverty in a modern Ireland. A lot of resources have been put into this area with its village centre being completely revamped. Junction 5 (N2) will take you to Finglas and Ashbourne. Situated to the North-West of Dublin is the area of Blanchardstown.
West County Dublin…
West County Dublin is home to the old village area of Lucan, a picturesque village which has retained much of its character. Lucan is situated off the N4, which can be accessed from junction 7 of the M50. North of Lucan is the Famous Strawberry Beds, a beautiful area of Dublin and the place where James Joyce spent many hours. Between Junction 7 and 9 is the famous Liffey Valley Shopping Centre.
The N7 is the main Dublin to Limerick road and can be accessed from Junction 9 of the M50 also known as The Red Cow Roundabout. The monastic town of Clondalkin with its 8th Century round tower in the village centre is 10km west of the Red Cow Roundabout. South westerly from here are the rural towns of Rathcoole and Saggart.
South County Dublin…
South County Dublin is considered the gateway to the rest of Ireland. The countryside is stunning with many various shades of green and stunning views of the Dublin and Wicklow Mountains all around. The area spans from Tallaght on the south west to Dalkey on the east coast of the county and down to the Wicklow border.
One of the main towns in South County Dublin is Tallaght situated off Junction 11 of the M50. Further along the M50 using Junction 13 is the historic town of Rathfarnham based at the foot of the Dublin Mountains. From Junction 14 you can access the rural towns of Dundrum, Sandyford, Deansgrange, Stillorgan and Blackrock.
Dublin is one of the top European destinations and very popular for weekend breaks. It has a proud reputation of providing top quality accommodation at prices to suit everyone. So if you’re looking for somewhere to stay take a look at our Dublin hotels page.