Dublin can claim to be one of the most beautifully situated of the world's capitals, located in the wide plain overlooked by the legendary Wicklow Mountains and facing a broad sweeping bay that leads into the Irish Sea. Ireland's largest city, Dublin has a population of a million, which is about a third of the total population of Ireland.
In the wake of a remarkable economic boom, Dublin's landscape has changed immeasurably over the past decade. These days Dublin ranks among the top tourist destinations in Europe and hums with a palpable sense that it is creating a new cultural heritage. Yet despite whirlwind changes, Dublin remains one of Europe's most down-to-earth, friendly and accessible cities.
The Irish love a good party and the St Patrick's Day national holiday gives them the perfect excuse to enjoy one. Every year, March 17 is celebrated with parties and parades in cities and towns around the world, but in Dublin it has that much more meaning. So much more, they actually celebrate with five days and nights of events, most of which are free.
There is music, street theatre, carnivals, comedy, dance, a treasure hunt and night spectacles. Imagine 4000 performers strutting their stuff for an audience of around a million.
Pat Liddy's Walking Tours of Dublin give insight into all the city has to offer. Pat has been an enthusiast for Dublin all his life and loves to share its 2000-year history.
There are medieval cathedrals, ancient city walls, Georgian squares, Victorian grandeur and streets alive with history, heritage and tales of years gone by. The modern city's vibrancy is not neglected on the tours.
For those with particular interests, Pat offers Viking and Medieval Dublin, Castle and Cathedral, the Historic Northside, Georgian and Victorian Splendors and the Dublin Experience.
Our crew met Michael Killian, an inventor with a difference. He created a bike which travels sideways! It has been recognised as the first major development in bicycle design for 150 years. It has a steerable wheel with a set of handlebars at either end. The cyclist sits sideways and operates a wheel with each hand. Pedalling makes the whole bike go sideways.
The key advantage is that it is more maneuverable and while Michael admits only six out of 10 people can master it, those who do think it's fantastic.