How many facts about Dublin do you know?
Dublin is a unique city. As the capital of Ireland, it is brimming with historical value, cultural significance and is today, the leading metropolis in Ireland.
Often, both as locals and visitors we try to learn all there is to about a place in which we are present, yet there are always those little curiosities, which make a place so unique, and are often overlooked.
Here are the 10 curious facts about Dublin, you (probably) never knew!
10. Youngest Population in All of Europe
Ireland has the youngest population in all of Europe with a third of its people under the ripe age of 25 years old. The majority of those live the thrilling and thriving capital of Dublin.
9. Hitler’s Half-Brother Lived in Dublin
One of the more interesting facts about Dublin – Adolf Hitler’s half-brother Alois Hitler lived and worked in the city during the early 1900s. He was a member of the team at the renowned Shelbourne Hotel, which continues to welcome the world’s elite to its luxury accommodation on Dublin’s Stephen’s Green, today.
8. St. Valentine’s Final Resting Place
Ireland, but more specifically Dublin, has a unique tie with Saint Valentine. A celebrated priest named Father John Spratt earned himself worldwide recognition from the Christian community after giving a top ceremony in Rome in 1836.
As a sign of appreciation and respect, Pope Gregory XVI gifted Father Spratt with the holy relic of Saint Valentine himself. A shrine to the patron Saint of love, housing his remains, still stands today in the Carmelite Whitefriar Street Church in Dublin 2. The church and the shrine remain open to public viewing daily.
7. St Audeon’s Holy Water fonts
Interestingly, the entrance to St Audeon’s Catholic Church in Cornmarket, Dublin 8 is flanked by two gigantic clam shells which were fished from the ocean in 1917. While mass-goers have passed by these huge shells time-and-again, most are entirely unaware that they are, in fact, real!
6. The Secret Air Raid Shelter
Ever wondered what the large mound of earth (that looks like a simple grass hill) in Merrion Square Park is? This is, in fact, a purpose-made air raid shelter from World War II! Whilst Dublin was, and remains, a neutral country, in 1941 German troops dropped bombs on Dublin killing 28 people. This encouraged precautionary measures to be taken into consideration; hence this air raid shelter.
5. Dublin Bus Route Numbers
They seem to follow no exact pattern and are baffling to most, yet Dublin bus route numbers have
4. Ha’Penny Bridge Toll
Ha’Penny Bridge is arguably one of the most iconic things to do in Dublin. The official name for this bridge is, in fact, The Liffey Bridge. Curiously, however, the Ha’Penny Bridge in Dublin charged a toll for crossing, from its inception in 1816 until 25 March 1919.
The toll was a halfpenny, hence where the nickname of the bridge came from. For a short period, the toll rose to be a penny ha’penny but dropped before being eradicated. There were turnstiles at either side of the bridge managing users and collecting toll fees.
3. Dublin’s Red Light District
One of the craziest facts about Dublin – it was home to one of the largest red light districts in Europe at one point. Montgomery Street was the hub of debauchery, and it is said that up to 1600 prostitutes would walk the streets daily.
The old Irish song ”Take Me Up to the Monto” immortalises this forgotten time in Dublin history.
2. The Irish Harp
Interestingly, Ireland is the only country in the entire world which boasts a harp – a musical instrument – as its national symbol.
In fact, the oldest known harp on the planet exists in Dublin’s prestigious Trinity College, only further signifying Ireland’s (and Dublin’s) unique tie with this dreamy, classical instrument. This harp is said to date back to 1300.
1. MGM Tiger Born in Dublin Zoo
Little know the truth behind the ever-famous tiger which precedes the opening credits of many blockbuster movies: the MGM tiger.
It was all the way in 1855 when Dublin Zoo welcomed its first set of lion cubs. When the war for independence took hold of the island of Ireland, food supplies dwindled, and whilst most animals in the capital’s zoo were left to suffer, the Lions’ welfare remained a priority.
On 20 March 1927, the lion cub, Cairbre, was born in Dublin Zoo and went on to be immortalised by fame, featuring in the opening credits and logo for MGM Studios.