While on a Best of Ireland Tour, seniors spend a large amount of time in the exquisite city of Dublin. After arriving in the Emerald Isle on day one, you'll have the chance to explore this historic city on your own before an experienced professional leads you on a guided excursion to discover the attractions, cuisine and friendly people of this metropolis and other Irish cities and villages. Learn a little about Dublin's rich heritage before setting off on your trip to better understand how this vibrant city came to be.
The Beginning of Dublin
There are multiple theories about the establishment of Dublin. Some believe it dates back to ancient times, around 140 A.D., and that it was originally a settlement called Eblana. More solid proof, however, points to the founding of the city in the 9th century during the Viking raids. The Norse people created a settlement, Dubh Linn (which translated to "Black Pool," referring to the lake where they would moor their boats).
A Troubled Past
By the 1200s, Dublin was on its way to becoming the wealthiest and most prosperous metropolis in the country. But it encountered many trials and tribulations throughout the Medieval era, when poverty and disease were common. The city was sacked on multiple occasions in the following centuries, but it always managed to recoup. The, for about three years in the middle of the 14th century, Ireland was in the grips of the bubonic plague, also known as the Black Death. In clustered cities such as Dublin, it was particularly prominent due to the close proximity that made it impossible to prevent passing it on to family, friends and neighbors. It took the lives of some 14,000 Dubliners, and deaths racked up at a rate of 100 people per day at one point.
Following the Middle Ages came a time of rebirth in Ireland. The Renaissance largely dismissed the Medieval era due to its lack of artistic or scientific accomplishments - it was considered a time of squandering and barbarism. But with the 18th century came great development in Dublin, including paved streets, new buildings, the Grand Canal, the division of the city into districts and the beginning of the iconic Guinness brewing company. The locale grew to more than 180,000 residents and soon become overpopulated.
The Great Famine
Unfortunately, the city was hit hard yet again when the Great Famine west through Ireland in the summer of 1845 and lasted until 1850. Potatoes were the main food staple for the country, so the citizens were devastated when a mysterious culprit began causing the tubers to decay when they were dug from the ground. After only a couple of days, they would become black and slimy. Early on, people believed it was the effect of pollution from locomotives or a harmful gas floating up into the dirt from subterranean volcanoes. It was later learned that the source of the plague was a fungus that made it was to the Emerald Isle from Mexico, but by this time it was too late save the nation from scourge - the Black Death took about 1 million lives, and another million people fled Ireland during this time.
Considering the turmoil Dublin experienced throughout its history, the city has proven itself to be one of great resilience. It made its biggest comeback in the 20th century when Ireland gained independence. Today, it continues to be one of the world's most culturally-rich destinations and a highlight of Europe tours.