Though O’Connell Bridge, 2km down the road, is now regarded as the centre of Dublin, the city originally grew around where the river Poddle flowed into the river Liffey. When the city wall was built – some of it is still there – it encircled a body of land along the river that included Christ Church Cathedral and Dublin Castle, both of which are still there and still in use.
The lands just outside the wall were regarded as part of the city but they ruled themselves. So they had the best of both worlds. These areas were called ‘Liberties’ because they were free from the rules laid down by the city’s mayor.
People who live in the Liberties today still have the best of both worlds. There’s a neighbourly, small-town atmosphere to the area, yet you’re right on the city’s doorstep. There’s lots to see and do in the area: Dublin Castle, Teeling’s Distillery, Dublinia - the Viking Experience, Vicar Street music Venue and Arthur’s the jazz pub. Perhaps the most famous place to visit is The Guinness Storehouse. In 1759 Arthur Guinness rented some land there for his brewery at the princely sum of £45 (€60) per year. The lease he signed was for 9,000 years – only about 8,740 years to go before the next rent review!