The Irish people are sports mad and have an avid interest in sports and adventure activities. In Ireland, hockey, golf, rowing, cricket, rugby union and Olympic target shooting are organized in an all-island basis, with a single team representing the whole of Ireland in international competitions. Other sports, such as soccer and netball, have separate organizing bodies in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. The many sports played and followed in Ireland also include horse racing, show jumping, greyhound racing, basketball, fishing, handball, motor sport, target shooting and tennis. County Dublin is home to six League of Ireland association clubs; Bohemians F.C, Shamrock Rovers, St Patrick's Athletic, University College Dublin, Shelbourne and newly elected side Cabinteely. Current FAI Cup Champions are St Patrick's Athletic.
The first Irish sides to reach the group stages of a European competition are Shamrock Rovers who play at Tallaght Stadium in South Dublin. Bohemians F.C play at Dalymount Park, St Patrick's Athletic play at Richmond Park, University College Dublin play their home games at the UCD Bowl in Dún Laoghaire–Rathdown, while Shelbourne is based at Tolka Park.Cabinteely will play at Stradbrook Road. Tolka Park, Dalymount Park, UCD Bowl and Tallaght Stadium, along with the Carlisle Grounds in Bray, hosted all Group 3 games in the intermediary round of the 2011 UEFA Regions' Cup.
The Dublin Marathon has been run since 1980 on the last Monday in October. The Women's Mini Marathon has been run since 1983 on the first Monday in June, which is also a bank holiday in Ireland. It is said to be the largest all female event of its kind in the world. The Dublin area has several race courses including Shelbourne Park and Leopardstown. The Dublin Horse Show takes place at the RDS, which hosted the Show Jumping World Championships in 1982. The national boxing arena is located in The National Stadium on the South Circular Road. The National Basketball Arena is located in Tallaght, is the home of the Irish basketball team, is the venue for the basketball league finals and has also hosted boxing and wrestling events.
The National Aquatic Centre in Blanchardstown is Ireland's largest indoor water leisure facility. Dublin has two ODI Cricket grounds in Castle Avenue, Clontarf and Malahide Cricket Club and College Park has Test status and played host to Ireland's only Test cricket match to date, a women's match against Pakistan in 2000. There are also Gaelic Handball, hockey and athletics stadia, most notably Morton Stadium in Santry, which held the athletics events of the 2003 Special Olympics.
Dublin was voted Europe's fourth most popular city break destination, behind London, Paris and Rome and is one of the friendliest capital cities in the world. Dublin's elegant Georgian architecture makes it one of Europe's most attractive capitals. Dublin is a relatively small and accessible city, small enough and safe enough to get around on foot, while the Luas tram system and the suburban rail system, the DART, provide excellent transport links throughout the city.
Dublin contains many fine parks, gardens and waterways. As well as fine Georgian Squares, such as Merrion Square and Stephens Green, that facilitate escape from the busy city streets, the city has many botanical gardens and large public parks with gardens. Dublin also boasts the Liffey, the Grand Canal and Royal Canal. Dublin is where you'll find many of the nation’s treasures, housed in the city's galleries and museums and is where some of the most important events of Ireland were played out, most notably the Easter Uprising of 1916. Though the battle between the IRA and British Forces caused extensive damage to the O'Connell Street area of Dublin, (the bullet holes can still be seen on the General Post Office) this was one of the formative events of the Irish Republic.
Dublin is a thriving cultural centre and boasts a great literary legacy with many luminaries of Irish literature such as Joyce, Shaw, Yeats, Wilde, Kavanagh and Beckett, being associated with the city. Dublin's entertainments are legendary, from the boozy delights of the Guinness Storehouse and Temple Bar to more cultured nights at the theatre or dining in one of the city's fine eateries including five 'one Michelin star' restaurants and one two star eatery. It's no surprise that people from all over the world come to enjoy the "craic" in Dublin.
Dublin holds theatre close to its heart. Throughout history, Irish theatre has played out the fears and anxiety of a nation divided with incredible passion. The legacy is a colorful theatrical scene in Dublin, with the plays of Beckett and Wilde alongside contemporary and experimental works, as well as the annual Theatre and Fringe festivals in September and October. Dublinia, Christchurch, Dublin is a great family day out and one of Dublin’s top visitor attractions with three exciting exhibitions; Viking Dublin, Medieval Dublin and History Hunters Exhibition. This is an exciting, fun and contemporary way for all ages to learn and experience Old Dublin's sights, sounds, and smells.
There are many park areas around the city, including the Phoenix Park, Herbert Park and St Stephen's Green. The Phoenix Park is about 3 km (2 miles) west of the city centre, north of the River Liffey. Its 16-kilometre (10 mi) perimeter wall encloses 707 hectares (1,750 acres), making it one of the largest walled city parks in Europe. Many people visit Trinity College, Dublin to see the Book of Kells in the library there. The Book of Kells is an illustrated manuscript created by Irish monks circa. 800 AD. The Ha'penny Bridge; an old iron footbridge over the River Liffey is one of the most photographed sights in Dublin and is considered to be one of Dublin's most iconic landmarks.