It was the Vikings who established the town of Dublin. They arrived in strength at the estuary of the River Liffey in 841 AD and began to build an urban centre there.
Dublin was a major Viking port for trading slaves (including both adults and children) who were captured during battles and raids, and then sold in slave markets. Slaves were traded all over the Viking world, even as far away as Russia and Baghdad.
April 23rd 2014 was the millennium anniversary of the Battle of Clontarf. In this battle Brian Ború led an army into battle against the King of Leinster Máel Mórda mac Murchada. The battle is perceived as a victory for Ború, however both he and his son and heir were killed in the battle.
Around 1100, the Vikings replaced the timber fences with the city’s first stone walls. Sections of the walls survive to this day. Above ground in the Castle (Bermingham and Record Towers), along Ship Street, in Thomas Court (off Patrick Street), Lamb Alley (Cornmarket/Thomas Street) and an extensive stretch survives along Cook Street. Underground remains survive in the Wood Quay Venue of the Civic Offices and Isolde’s Tower.
Christchurch Cathedral was founded in the 1030s by Dúnán, the first bishop of Viking Dublin, and King Sitric Silkenbeard. In the 1180s, the Christchurch we know today started to take shape when Dublin’s first Anglo-Norman Archbishop, John Cumin, built a stone church in the Romanesque style.
In 1169 Strongbow – the famous Anglo-Norman knight – arrived in Ireland. He joined forces with an Irish king called Diarmait Mac Murchada. They attacked the city from the south and quickly won control of it.
Dublin’s first mayor (Richard Muton) was elected in 1229. The office of Mayor was granted to Dublin in a charter by Henry III. Dublin has held the office of mayor and later lord mayor for over 800 years.
Trinity College was set up in 1592 at the request of Queen Elizabeth I on the grounds of the former Augustinian priory of All Saints.
The first ever performance of Handel’s Messiah was in Dublin on April 13th 1742 – in a music hall on Fishamble Street. A free public performance of the Messiah takes place each year on Fishamble Street on this anniversary.
The Carmelite Church in Whitefriar Street (beside Aungier Street) claims to hold the remains of St Valentine.
Dublin is home to the largest urban park in Europe, the Phoenix Park. The park was created in 1662 by the 1st Duke of Ormond for use as a deer park.
Dublin once had four equestrian statues but today has only one. Statues depicting William of Orange, King George I, George II and Lord Gough were all were sold or destroyed after independence. In 2010 an equestrian statue, titled Misneach by the artist John Byrne, was erected in Ballymun. The design of the horse is based on the Gough Monument by John Henry Foley. Turning the convention of such monuments on its head, the figure on the horse is an every-day teenager in a track suit.
The Rotunda Hospital in Dublin was the first lying-in maternity hospital in Europe for poor expectant mothers. It was built by Dr. Bartholemew Mosse to the designs of Richard Castlein 1751.
Where the Clarence Hotel stands today is approximately the site of the original Customs House which was built by Surveyor General Thomas Burgh between 1704-1706. It was replaced further downstream by James Gandon’s Customs House in the 1780s, which is considered the finest Neoclassical building in Dublin.
The Parliament House (now Bank of Ireland College Green) was designed by Sir Edward Lovett Pearse and begun in 1729. The Irish Parliament voted itself out of existence in 1801 (when the British and Irish Governments were united in London – The Act of Union) – the only recorded parliament in history to do so.
O’Connell Bridge is the only traffic bridge in Europe that is wider than it is long.
Abraham “Bram” Stoker who wrote the famous novel Dracula, was born on 8 November 1847 in Clontarf, a suburb of Dublin.
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