- Dublin is now in a period of great change, driven by major technological advances, demographic shifts, and new forms of social participation and cultural expression.
- The city is famous for its vibrant live music scene, both in terms of large venues and its unique pub music network.
- In 1994 it instituted an International Literature Prize which remains well-regarded and links the city to libraries, artists and literature lovers across the world.
City data: Key facts
- Geographical area: 918 sq. km
- Total population: 1,347,359
- Percentage of total national population living in the city: 28%
- Education level – percentage with degree level or higher: 42.7%
- GDP (PPP) million: $163,510
- Percentage creative industries employment: 3.9%
The City of Dublin is an ancient city first documented in stories of 8th century Viking raids. It has survived periods of conflict and prosperity, the latter of which gave it its oldest university (Trinity College created in 1592) and imposing 18th century buildings. It is just over a century since the Easter Rising of 1916 in which opposition to the British government, led to the creation of the modern Irish state in 1922. The city is famous for its literary figures including Seamus Heaney, James Joyce, Oscar Wilde, Samuel Beckett and Anne Enright. It also has a world renowned arts and cultural reputation as well as a reputation for hospitality including a great pub culture, friendliness and humour, which permeates its fabric. Its history, distinctiveness and lively culture continue to attract tourists, with 5.9 million visiting from overseas in 2017.
Today, the city and suburbs have a population of almost 1.35 million, close to a quarter of the 4.76 million living in the Republic of Ireland. 20.8% of the city’s residents were born abroad, a higher number than in any other part of the country. Alongside domestic industries like tourism, Dublin’s modern economy is shaped by its ability to attract international business, and it is currently home to 250 global financial institutions and nine of the top ten global ICT companies. Its cultural infrastructure includes 62 museums, 51 public libraries, three universities and 53 art galleries. Seven designated National Cultural Institutions are based in the city including the National Gallery of Ireland, Irish Museum of Modern Art and National Concert Hall. Dublin is famous for its vibrant live music scene, both in terms of large venues and its unique pub music network. However, the backdrop of the economic crisis and subsequent combined success of business and tourism in the city has led to pressure on housing and rising rents, making living and working conditions challenging for artists, who also often have to look internationally to find enough work and commissions to sustain a career.
Dublin City Council has long seen the city’s cultural heritage as an asset nationally and internationally and has been active in promoting this. In 1994 it instituted an International Literature Prize which remains well-regarded and links the city to libraries, artists and literature lovers across the world. More recently community participation and social development have become the main drivers of Dublin’s cultural policy. Its cultural strategy to 2021 is, ‘To position Culture, Creativity and Creative Industries as central to Dublin’s global competitiveness and reputation as a modern European City’.
This is partly through more socially led programmes, which might combine group visits to museums with ‘tea and chat’ sessions, and partly through programmes which bring together artists with communities to create new work. ‘Culture Connects’, through the newly established Dublin City Culture Company, runs the recently opened Dublin Tenement Museum, which captures stories of poverty and wealth, as part of the history of the city. This year-round work is complemented by Culture Night, a programme of events taking place over one night each September. Ultimately Dublin seeks to be a place that attracts people to live, work and visit, and its diversity and vibrant cultural offering is seen as essential to achieving that goal.
Dublin is now in a period of great change, driven by major technological advances, demographic shifts, and new forms of social participation and cultural expression. As a rapidly modernising city, Dublin is thriving, adept at building a strong and neighbourly community arts culture while also forging a cultural offer which attracts the wider world.