Dublin (Irish: Baile Átha Cliath, meaning "town of the hurdled ford", or Áth Cliath, occasionally Duibhlinn) is the capital and most populous city of Ireland. The English name for the city is derived from the Irish name Dubhlinn, meaning "black pool". Dublin is situated near the midpoint of Ireland's east coast, at the mouth of the River Liffey and the center of the Dublin Region.
Originally founded as a Viking settlement, it evolved into the Kingdom of Dublin and became the island's principal city following the Norman invasion. The city expanded rapidly from the 17th century; it was briefly the second largest city in the British Empire and the fifth largest in Europe. Dublin entered a period of stagnation following the Act of Union of 1800, but it remained the economic center for most of the island. Following the partition of Ireland in 1922, the new parliament, the Oireachtas, was located in Leinster House. Dublin became the capital of the Irish Free State and later the Republic of Ireland.
Similar to the cities of Cork, Limerick, Galway, and Waterford—Dublin is administered separately from its respective County with its own City Council. The city is listed by the Globalization and World Cities Research Network (GaWC) as a global city, with a ranking of "Alpha-", placing Dublin among the top 30 cities in the world. It is a historical and contemporary cultural centre for the country, as well as a modern centre of education, the arts, administration, economy, and industry.
Dublin is situated at the mouth of the River Liffey and encompasses a land area of approximately 44 square miles (113.96 km2, in east-central Ireland. It is bordered by a low mountain range to the south and surrounded by flat farmland to the north and west. The Liffey divides the city in two between the Northside and the Southside. Each of these is further divided by two lesser rivers – the River Tolka running southeast into Dubin Bay, and the River Dodder running northeast to the mouth of the Liffey. Two further water bodies – the Grand Canal on the southside and the Royal Canal on the northside – ring the inner city on their way from the west and the River Shannon.
The River Liffey bends at Leixlip from a northeasterly route to a predominantly eastward direction, and this point also marks the transition to urban development from more agricultural land usage.
Similar to much of the rest of northwestern Europe, Dublin experiences a maritime climate (Cfb) with cool summers, mild winters, and a lack of temperature extremes. The average maximum January temperature is 8.8 °C (48 °F), while the average maximum July temperature is 20.2 °C (68 °F). On average, the sunniest months are May and June, while the wettest month is October with 76 mm (3 in) of rain, and the driest month is February with 46 mm (2 in). Rainfall is evenly distributed throughout the year.
Ringsend in the south of the city records the least amount of rainfall in Ireland, with an average annual precipitation of 683 mm (27 in), with the average annual precipitation in the city center being 714 mm (28 in). The main precipitation in winter is rain; however snow showers do occur between November and March. Hail is more common than snow. The city experiences long summer days and short winter days. Strong Atlantic winds are most common in autumn. These winds can affect Dublin, but due to its easterly location it is least affected compared to other parts of the country. However, in winter, easterly winds render the city colder and more prone to snow showers.