Dublin (population 527,000) is the capital city of Ireland. Its Irish name is Baile Átha Cliath, meaning ‘town of the hurdled ford’. It was established at the mouth of the River Liffey as a Viking settlement and has remained the economic centre of the country since its beginnings.
Dublin and its surroundings (known as ‘the Pale’) was the first area in Ireland in which English was spoken – brought by the Normans at the end of the 12th century, it is now the official spoken language. The English which is spoken in Ireland is known as Hiberno-English and features many influences of the Irish language which is also still spoken and written throughout the country.