As of 2010, Dublin was listed by the Globalization and World Cities Research Network (GaWC) as a global city, with a ranking of “Alpha-“, which places it amongst the top thirty cities in the world. It is a historical and contemporary centre for education, the arts, administration, economy and industry.
Dublin is situated at the mouth of the River Liffey and encompasses a land area of approximately 115 square kilometres (44 sq mi) 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 Dublin 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.
A north-south division at one time did traditionally exist, with the River Liffey as the divider. The Northside was generally seen as working class to lower middle class, while the Southside was seen as middle class to upper-middle class. In recent decades this has changed with both Northside and Southside seeing urban and economic redevelopment bringing prosperity especially to the Northside. Dublin’s economic divide was also previously an east-west as well as a north-south. There were also social divisions evident between the coastal suburbs in the east of the city, and the newer developments further to the west.
In some tourism and real-estate marketing contexts, Dublin is sometimes divided into a number of quarters or districts. These include, the ‘Medieval Quarter’ (in the area of Dublin Castle, Christ Church and St Patrick’s Cathedral and the old city walls), the ‘Georgian Quarter’ (including the area around St Stephen’s Green, Trinity College, and Merrion Square), the ‘Docklands Quarter’ (around the Dublin Docklands and Silicon Docks), the ‘Cultural Quarter’ (around Temple Bar), and ‘Creative Quarter’ (between South William Street and George’s Street).
Dublin’s sheltered location on the east coast makes it the driest place in Ireland, receiving only about half the rainfall of the west coast. Ringsend in the south of the city records the lowest rainfall in the country, with an average annual precipitation of 683 mm (27 in), with the average annual precipitation in the city centre 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.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.
In the 20th century, smog and air-pollution were an issue in the city, precipitating a ban on bituminous fuels across Dublin.The ban was implemented in 1990 to address black smoke concentrations, that had been linked to cardiovascular and respiratory deaths in residents. Since the ban, non-trauma death rates, respiratory death rates and cardiovascular death rates have declined – by an estimated 350 deaths annually.
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