Though it is Ireland's third smallest county, Dublin is home to roughly a third of Ireland's population. The county is made up of Dublin and the surrounding areas of the capital city, and borders Wicklow, Meath and Kildare.
County Dublin stretches in an arc around Dublin Bay, from the quaint and fashionable towns of Malahide and Howth in the north, to the main harbour town of Dun Laoghaire, and Dalkey bordering the Wicklow Mountains to the south. Central to the county is Dublin, Ireland's famously vibrant and colourful capital city.
The status of County Dublin, however, is a little complicated and was officially dissolved in 1994 and replaced by counties Dun Laoghaire, Fingal and South Dublin. These counties do have administrative county status, but many agencies, organisations and sporting bodies still operate on a County Dublin basis. To make matters more confusing there are the terms and separate areas of Greater Dublin and the Dublin Region.
The River Liffey flows through the county dividing it, like the city, into north and south. This has traditionally been a social marker dividing the poor north from the affluent south, though through a general process of gentrification, this social divide is merging.
The area around Dublin was settled by the early Celts in around 988, who inhabited an ancient crossing point of the Liffey, giving rise to the Irish name for Dublin, Baile Atha Cliath, ‘town of the hurdle ford'. But it was the Vikings in the 9th Century who established Dublin as a major port city where the River Poddle met the Liffey creating a black pool, which in Irish translates to dubh linn.
Dublin boasts many famous names, among them are literary figures James Joyce, Brendan Behan, Oscar Wilde, George Bernard Shaw, Jonathon Swift, Bram Stoker and Sam Beckett. Entertainers such as Bono, Bob Geldof, Colin Farrell and Gabriel Byrne and political leaders, Bertie Aherne and Charles Haughey were also from County Dublin.