O’Connell Street

O’Connell Street is one of the widest boulevards in Europe and also the main thoroughfare of Dublin’s north side. The street is known for its historical significance and as the main location of the 1916 Easter Rising. Bullet holes from this event can still be seen in the Dublin General Post Office on O’Connell Street. Today, the street is part of the bustling city center and is near landmarks such as the Gate Theatre and the Dublin Writers Museum; it crosses the River Liffey into the south side of Dublin as well. The most well-known landmark today along the street is the spire of Dublin, a tall silver-colored structure in the center of the road that was built to commemorate the new millennium.

O’Connell Street experienced serious destruction during the Irish struggle for independence and the Irish civil war. It is fascinating after you’ve strolled the boulevard to see photographs from the 1920s with the road covered in rubble. The Dublin General Post Office, built in 1818, is still an operating post office, so if you’re looking for a historic place to mail your postcards, this is it. O’Connell Street shops are also quite famous. For instance, Clery’s is a neoclassical stone building that is not only beautiful to look at, but a department store worthy of a glance.

The spire of Dublin has an official title: The Monument of Light. This stainless-steel monument is almost 400 feet in height, and it is visible from many locations throughout the city. Although the structure was commissioned in 1999 to celebrate the millennium, it wasn’t complete until early 2003. The site of the Spire of Dublin used to be occupied by a monument called Nelson’s Pillar, until it was bombed by the IRA in 1966. Dubliners have had mixed reactions to the new monument since it was built. Some poke fun at its uselessness or unattractive style, while others praise it.

O’Connell Street has been at the center of many important events in Dublin's history. Named after the Irish political leader Daniel O’Connell of the early nineteenth century, the street now contains an impressive commemorative statue of him. Perhaps the most famous historical event to take place in this central Dublin street was the 1916 Easter Rising, when Irish republicans seized the Dublin General Post Office and declared the Irish Republic. The British Army didn’t take this lately, and the area was largely destroyed in response. Ultimately, the leaders lost their lives by firing squad at Kilmainham Gaol. Visitors today can look closely and see the scars of this battle on the exterior of the post office.

Another attraction near O’Connell Street is the Garden of Remembrance. Unfortunately, much of the street has been taken over by souvenir shops, but recent years have seen a significant effort to restore the street to its former glory. A major thoroughfare for buses and transportation, if you’re trying to get anywhere in the city, you most likely will be able to get there from O’Connell Street. It’s also very close to the Abbey Theatre, one of the top landmarks in Dublin for its historical significance and modern-day productions. Bus tours typically include a drive along O’Connell Street as well. Your exploration of the city will undoubtedly bring you at one time or another to this central boulevard of Dublin.

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