Once a backwater among European capitals, Dublin has become a cosmopolitan place. Shopping areas such as Grafton Street are lined with fashionable stores, and the city’s restaurants now serve reliably delicious cuisine. The quality of the seafood is exceptional. At the same time, the city has retained much of its traditional charm. The Georgian architecture of Merrion Square, Mountjoy Square and Leinster House (the Irish Parliament building) is exquisite. Once, such neoclassical structures were regarded by zealous republicans as remnants of an alien English presence, and there were even calls for their demolition. Fortunately, history has moved on, and today they are seen as intrinsic to Dublin’s identity and part of a wider European cultural heritage.

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