Dublin's Docklands were once a symbol of the ambitious development of the Celtic Tiger, especially the area around Grand Canal Dock, on the south side of the Liffey east of the city centre. A couple of architectural beauties – most notably a theatre designed by Daniel Libeskind – stand out among the modern apartment and office blocks.
Grafton Street & Around
Dublin's bustling heart is the area on and around Grafton St. Most of the action takes place within its easily walkable confines, where you’ll find the biggest range of pubs and restaurants, and where most Dubliners come to blow off some retail steam. Many of the city’s most important sights and museums are here, as is Dublin’s best-loved city park, St Stephen's Green.
Dublin's best-known district is the cobbled playpen of Temple Bar, where mayhem and merriment is standard fare, especially on summer weekends when the pubs are full and the party spills out onto the streets. During daylight hours there are shops and galleries to discover, which at least lend some truth to the area's title as the city's 'cultural quarter'.
Merrion Square & Around
Genteel, sophisticated and elegant, the exquisite Georgian architecture spread around handsome Merrion Sq is a near-perfect mix of imposing public buildings, museums, and private offices and residences. It is round these parts that much of moneyed Dublin works and plays, amid the neoclassical beauties thrown up during Dublin's 18th-century prime.
Without even the smallest hint of irony Dubliners will tell you that one of the city's best features is how easy it is to get out of – and they do, whenever they can. But they don't go especially far: for many the destination is one of the small seaside villages that surround the capital.