Northside (Dublin)

Findlater's church, Parnell Square
Traffic passing the Independent Bridge at Drumcondra
The harbour at Howth

The Northside (Taobh Ó Thuaidh in Irish) is the area in County Dublin, Ireland bounded to the south by the River Liffey to the east by Dublin Bay, to the north and west by the boundaries of County Dublin.



The Northside is not an official or administrative area but rather a colloquial geographical expression. The Northside is, possibly unfairly, viewed by some commentators[who?] as less salubrious than its counterpart across the river, the Southside. This view is somewhat inaccurate as some of Dublin's relatively affluent suburbs such as Clontarf, Glasnevin, Drumcondra, Malahide, Castleknock, Clonsilla, Howth and Sutton are located on the Northside of the city. There is also something of a rivalry between the two.[citation needed]

James Joyce set several of the Dubliners stories on the Northside, reflecting his childhood sojourns in Drumcondra and Fairview. Other best selling authors who have written extensively about the Northside include Dermot Bolger and Booker Prize winning author Roddy Doyle, who set several novels in the fictional Northside area of Barrytown.

Areas of the Northside

The Northside includes Dublin city centre north of the Liffey, of whose many streets some are noted below, and districts such as Smithfield and Summerhill. Some older districts, such as Oxmantown, no longer exist. Beyond the centre, areas of the Northside include the below, most (at least two names were invented in the 1960s) of the names being of long heritage, though until recently many were rural townlands. Some are distinct suburbs or villages, others are parts of larger areas:

The 'area' is administered both by Dublin City Council (formerly Dublin Corporation) and Fingal County Council, responsible for 84% and 16% of the land area which lies inside the M50 motorway and north of the river Liffey respectively (excluding the Howth peninsula).

The Fingal/Dublin city boundary, when drawn up in 1985, was viewed as the edge of all Northside development from Dublin City at that time. Of course this boundary has moved significantly with the housing boom of the 1990s, with large tracts of formerly rural land being swallowed up by the city in areas such as Ashtown, Balgriffin, northern Coolock, Donaghmede and Baldoyle, and beyond Finglas. Also, the Swords area (separated from the city limits by the green belt and aviation safety zone around Dublin Airport) is considered a Northside area because of, perhaps, its establishment as a commuter suburb for Dublin's new middle class and also because a substantial number of residents would be of a traditional working-class/lower middle class Northside background i.e. from areas such as Coolock, Santry or Ballymun. Yet neighbouring Malahide (the two suburbs are now interconnected), while slightly closer to the city than Swords, might be thought of as more a County Dublin "seaside town", owing to a substantial upper middle class element in its population.


In general, Dublin postal districts on the Northside are odd numbers, while Southside codes are even. One exception is the Phoenix Park, which is on the Northside but forms part of an even-numbered district (Dublin 8). The reason behind this is explained by eminent Dublin historian Pat Liddy[citation needed]: "Long before there were postal codes the James's St Postal Sorting Office looked after the Phoenix Park because it was considered to be closer and more convenient than Phibsborough (Dublin 7). James's St continued in this role when the postal codes were introduced so Dublin 8 it had to be."


Famous places on the Northside include

Major transport hubs include Connolly Station, Busáras (the national central bus station) and Dublin Airport.

Many state bodies such as the national meteorological office, Met Éireann, the Central Fisheries Board, the national enterprise and trade board, Enterprise Ireland, the National Standards Authority of Ireland, Sustainable Energy Ireland, the Department of Education, the Department of the Environment, the National Food Centre, the Irish Marine Institute in Corduff and the Department of Defence are based on the Northside.

The main shopping area in the north inner city, and busiest shopping street in Ireland, is Henry Street/Mary Street, just off O'Connell street. Four of the six city centre shopping centres are located on the Northside, these are the Jervis Centre, the Ilac Shopping Centre, Irish Life Shopping Mall and the Moore Street Mall, along with the large out-of-town centre at Blanchardstown and others at Swords, Coolock and Donaghmede.

The Cineworld (UGC) cinema on Parnell Street is the largest cinema in Ireland with seventeen screens, the other notable north inner city cinema, the Savoy, is located on O'Connell Street and is one of Ireland's oldest cinemas.

Dublin City University, Dublin's newest university, is located between Glasnevin, Whitehall and Ballymun.

Famous Northsiders

Bram Stoker, author of Dracula, lived in the Fairview / Marino area on The Crescent, a curved terrace of houses reminiscent of the Royal Crescent in Bath. Legend has it[1] that the terrace was built where it is deliberately to block the seaviews of the builder's rival, a rich landowner, from his estate (which included the Casino) at Marino. Perhaps the most famous contemporary Northsiders are the members of the rock group U2, which formed at Mount Temple Comprehensive School. Three of the four band members have moved to the Southside. Actor Colin Farrell is from Castleknock.

Two Taoisigh, Bertie Ahern and the late Charles Haughey, are from the Northside - Ahern from Drumcondra and Haughey from Donnycarney.

Actress and singer Maria Doyle Kennedy is originally from the neighbourhood of Clontarf, as is Irish rugby international, Brian O'Driscoll.

All the members of Boyzone are Northsiders.


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