Dublin is the capital city of Ireland. Its vibrancy, nightlife and tourist attractions are noteworthy, and it is the most popular entry point for international visitors to Ireland. As a city, it is disproportionately large for the size of the country (2011 pop. Greater Dublin Region 1.8 million); well over a quarter of the Republic's population lives in the metropolitan area. The centre is, however, relatively small and can be navigated by foot, with most of the population living in suburbs.
Dublin is divided by the River Liffey. On the north side of the Liffey is O'Connell Street--the main thoroughfare, which is intersected by numerous shopping streets, including Henry Street and Talbot Street. On the south side are St. Stephen's Green, Grafton Street, Trinity College, Christ Church, St. Patrick's Cathedrals, and many other attractions.
Being subject to the moderating effects of the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf Stream, Dublin is known for its mild climate.
Snow does occur, but it is not very common, and most of Dublin's winter precipitation comes in the form of a chilly rain and hail. The lowest recorded temperature in the city is -12°C (10°F). It should also be noted that during the first week of January 2010, the city canals froze over for the first time in years--this was a common enough sight back in the 1960's, 1970's and 1980's. It could be said that Dublin's climate is very comparable to that of the northwest United States and southwest Canada, as well as to much of coastal Western Europe.
Summers in Dublin are also mild. The average maximum temperature is 19°C (66°F) in July, far cooler than even most of the coldest American cities. The hottest temperature ever recorded in Dublin is a mere 29°C (87°F), which in many other parts of the world, even at its own latitude, is just a typical summer day. Don't plan on too many hot summertime activities. Thunderstorms also don't happen very often in Dublin, on average only four days a year. Overall, the city's climate is mild but would be considered drier and cooler than western and southern parts of the island of Ireland.
No visit to Dublin would be complete without a visit to one (or ten) of its many pubs (last count says there are over 600 pubs). Drink is relatively expensive: a pint of stout costs around €4.50 and up, while lager costs around €4.90 and up. However, the government gave a tax break to microbrewed beer in the December 2004 budget, this had a slight effect on prices in brewpubs. Pubs serve drinks until 11:30PM with some drinking-up time allowed. Many bars have late licenses allowing them to serve up to 2:30 AM, although this usually means a cover charge or price increases after 11:30 PM.