An introduction to the districts of Dublin The River Liffey flows through the centre of Dublin dividing it in two. Traditionally, the north side of the river was home to the city’s working class residents, while the south side was associated with Dublin’s middle and upper classes. However, this is changing as neighbourhoods like Smithfield, Stoneybatter and Clontarf to the north become gentrified. Today, the county would be more accurately described as having a west-east division. Although there isn’t any river drawing a line between the two areas, the east side of Dublin is generally considered to be more affluent – particularly along the coast.
Dublin city stretches across 115km² while the entire county covers just 921km². Despite its compact size, because of its status as Ireland’s capital city, Dublin has a lot going on.
That’s why the county is split into four local authorities:
- Dublin City Council
- Fingal County Council
- South Dublin County Council
- Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council
How Dublin’s councils work
Each council, or local authority, is run by a chief executive who is responsible for a range of local services such as roads and recreational facilities. To put it simply, the council is responsible for an area’s social, economic, environmental, cultural and community development.
In day-to-day life, you probably won’t have many dealings with your local council. However, there are some instances when you’ll need to get in touch. For example, if you need to seek planning permission, apply for funding or pay for a fine or permit – think litter fines and parking permits. They are also the go-to authority for information on social housing.
You can find out more about the council’s role in our guide to what Dublin’s local authorities do. Here, you’ll also find a list of departments within the four Dublin council areas along with their contact details.
Representatives for the local community
Each council also has its own democratically elected public representatives. These councillors approve the council’s annual budget and formulate policies for their area. They also act as a bridge between the council and members of the local community. They often answer queries and can bring relevant issues to the attention of the chief executive and their staff.
Every five years, in the early summer, Dublin’s local elections take place. You don’t have to be an Irish citizen to vote in these elections. Residents of an area who are over the age of 18 can register to vote online or at the office of their local council.
Here is a list of current representatives for each of the four Dublin council areas:
There are plenty of options for getting from A to B in Dublin. It is a fairly compact city, which means walking and cycling are viable options. You can walk from many of the city’s outlying districts to its centre in around 30 or 40 minutes. But the public transport in Dublin is pretty good too. It’s one of the benefits that comes with living in the city. Public transport Getting around Dublin by bus Dublin Bus connects most parts of the city through a network of over 100 routes.
Dublin-born icon, Oscar Wilde wrote, "It is absurd to divide people into good and bad. People are either charming or tedious!" If there's one thing that's central to Dubliners, it's the dry wit you'll find here; the tongue-in-cheek, good-hearted humour that makes teasing just as much a sign of the welcome as it is part of the vernacular. The biggest draw to Dublin has to be its people. They’re the reason the city was recently voted in the top 10 friendliest cities in the world; why it has the greatest nightlife; why its art and culture is some of the most influential and vibrant to be found anywhere.