The River Liffey is neither grand nor rushing, but it has always served as the focal point of the city it divides. Things have come a long way since the Vikings set up their Dyflin trading post over 1,000 years ago, naming it after Dubh Linn (Dark Pool), an earlier Gaelic settlement. In the 12th century, at an Irish Chieftan's fateful request, the King of England sent his Anglo-Norman knights to wrest Dublin from its Viking rulers. They laid the foundations for a thriving medieval city - part of which can still be seen - and set the course for 800 years of English oppression, which finally ended with hard-won independence in 1922. With its recent joining of the European Union, Dublin received a massive infusion of financing and technology that has led to tremendous change and growth, and it is now the fastest-growing economy in Europe.

The tourist precinct is a small and friendly place, a well-defined compound focused around Grafton Street, St Stephen's Green, and Temple Bar, best explored on foot. Artists who once felt compelled to leave now stay, and if Joyce and Wilde could see Dublin today, they'd dig in along with the new creative breed, including Nobel Literature Prize-winner, Seamus Heaney. Once upon a time, Julius Caesar put all his power into defeating the Celts, but they have returned with a vengeance. In 1998, Dublin settled the ancient score by leaping past Rome to become the 5th most-visited city in Europe, already surpassing Milan, Amsterdam, London, and Rome yet as Fortune magazine's "best place in Europe to do business." The word is out - for work or play, Dublin is the place!
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