Northside, Dublin

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The Northside
Dublin, north of the Liffey
O'Connell Bridge, looking north
O'Connell Bridge, looking north
Traffic passing the Independent Bridge at Drumcondra
The harbour at Howth

The Northside[1] (Irish: Taobh Ó Thuaidh) is the part of Dublin city that lies to the north of the River Liffey. It is an informal but commonly used term. While it is sometimes regarded as less wealthy than the city's Southside, the Northside was originally the home of the city's upper classes and the more privileged of the two.[2] Today, some of the wealthiest areas in Ireland lie north of the river, such as Malahide,[3] Howth,[4] Clontarf,[5] and Castleknock.[6]


Not an administrative area, the Northside is variously defined. It generally includes those parts of Dublin city that lie north of the River Liffey. County Dublin settlements, north of the M50 motorway, such as Swords and Malahide, which have developed into suburbs of Dublin city, are usually included.[7]

Popular culture[edit]

James Joyce set several of the Dubliners stories on the Northside, reflecting his childhood sojourns in Drumcondra and Fairview. Among the more recent best-selling writers to have written extensively about the Northside are Dermot Bolger and Booker Prize winner Roddy Doyle, who set several of his novels in the fictional Northside area of Barrytown.

The soap opera Fair City is set in Carrigstown, a fictional suburb within Dublin's Northside. According to the RTÉ Guide, Carrigstown is bounded by Drumcondra to the north, the city centre to the south, East Wall to the east and Phibsboro to the west.[8]

Areas of the Northside[edit]

The Northside includes Dublin city centre north of the Liffey, of whose many streets some are noted below, and districts such as Smithfield and Summerhill. Some older districts, such as Oxmantown, no longer exist. Beyond the centre, areas of the Northside include the below, most (at least two names were invented in the 1960s) of the names being of long heritage, though until recently many were rural townlands. Some are distinct suburbs or villages, others are parts of larger areas:

The 'area' is administered both by Dublin City Council (formerly Dublin Corporation) and Fingal County Council, responsible for 84% and 16% of the land area which lies inside the M50 motorway and north of the river Liffey respectively (excluding the Howth peninsula).


Traditionally, Dublin postal districts on the Northside begin with odd numbers, while those on the Southside begin with even numbers. O'Connell Street, for example, is in the city's D01 district—simply called "Dublin 1" in everyday speech—whereas the outer suburb of Ballymun is in D11. One exception is the Phoenix Park, which is on the Northside but forms part of the even-numbered district D08. The reason behind this is explained by historian Pat Liddy[citation needed]: "Long before there were postal codes, the James's Street Postal Sorting Office looked after the Phoenix Park, because it was considered to be closer and more convenient than Phibsborough. James's Street continued in this role when the postal codes were introduced, so Dublin 8 it had to be." Another apparent quirk of the postal district system on the Northside is that the town of Clonee in Dublin's neighbouring County Meath actually lies within the city's D15 postal code.[9]

The outer edges of the Northside and all of North County Dublin also contain all but one of the newer "K" Dublin postcode areas. These are separate from the traditional postal districts but have been unified with them under the new Eircode system. Swords, for example, is in Dublin K67, whereas Malahide is in the K36 area. The single exception to the rule is Lucan, which is in south-west Dublin and is designated as Dublin K78.[10] Since Eircode was implemented, Northside postal addresses now take two general forms, depending on whether they lie within the traditional postal district area or not. This is an example of a postal address within the traditional Dublin postal districts:

The Gresham Hotel,
23 Upper O'Connell Street,
Dublin 1,
D01 C3W7.

And this is an example of a Northside postal address from outside the traditional postal districts:

Coffee Works
62 Main Street
County Dublin,
K67 RX94.


Aerial view of Dublin's Northside, with O'Connell Street in the left-foreground, Croke Park in the centre-middleground and Clontarf and Portmarnock in the background

Well known places and sights on the Northside include:

Major transport hubs include Connolly Station, Busáras (the national central bus station) and Dublin Airport.

A number of state bodies are based on the Northside, including the national meteorological office, Met Éireann, the Central Fisheries Board, the national enterprise and trade board, Enterprise Ireland, the National Standards Authority of Ireland, Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland, the Department of Education and Skills, the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government, the Marine Institute in Corduff and the Department of Defence.[citation needed]

The main shopping area in the north inner city, and busiest shopping street in Ireland, is Henry Street/Mary Street, just off O'Connell street. Three of the five city centre shopping centres are located on the Northside, these are the Jervis Centre, the Ilac Shopping Centre / Moore Street Mall, and the Irish Life Shopping Mall, along with Dublin's largest out-of-town centre, at Blanchardstown, and others at Swords, Coolock, Charlestown in northern Finglas, and Donaghmede.

The Cineworld (UGC) cinema on Parnell Street is the largest cinema in Ireland with seventeen screens, while the Savoy, located on O'Connell Street and operated by IMC, is one of Ireland's oldest cinemas.

Higher education institutions include the Grangegorman Campus of Technological University Dublin, the newest university established in Dublin, and Dublin City University, with its campus located primarily in Glasnevin and Drumcondra.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ O'Toole, Fintan (14 November 2012). "Time to move beyond the northside-southside myth". The Irish Times. Archived from the original on 7 February 2018. Retrieved 7 January 2018.
  2. ^ Phelan, Kate (11 January 2017). "What's With Dublin's North-South Divide?". Culture Trip. Retrieved 1 February 2022.
  3. ^ Gleeson, Colin. "Households in Malahide enjoy highest incomes in State". The Irish Times. Retrieved 1 February 2022.
  4. ^ Mcmorrow, Kate. "Howth". The Irish Times. Retrieved 1 February 2022.
  5. ^ Hill, Berkeley (5 February 2018), "Incomes of Agricultural Households", Farm Incomes, Wealth and Agricultural Policy, Routledge, pp. 179–272, ISBN 978-1-315-20169-6, retrieved 2 February 2022
  6. ^ Jones, Christopher (2 June 2020). "Dublin By Numbers: Everything you need to know before moving to Castleknock". DublinLive. Retrieved 1 February 2022.
  7. ^ "Swords, Dublin County Neighbourhood Guide – information on property, local amenities, schools, maps, services and transportation links". Retrieved 30 December 2021.
  8. ^ RTÉ Guide, 5–11 September 2009 edition
  9. ^ "Clonee, D15/£125,000-plus". The Irish Times. Retrieved 30 December 2021.
  10. ^ "Routing Key Boundaries". Retrieved 30 December 2021.