Running due north from O’Connell Bridge, broader than it is long, to Parnell Square, O’Connell Street is the main artery of Dublin’s Northside. Lined with numerous impressive memorials, as well as the historic GPO and the remarkable four-hundred-foot-high stainless steel “Spike” sculpture, this bustling thoroughfare was originally laid out in the fashion of the grand Parisian boulevards. Poorly redeveloped since the damage caused by the 1916 Easter Rising, nowadays the street is very much a mishmash of modern shop frontages, though glancing at the upper storeys reveals some of its former glory. The streets around, however, represent a consumer’s paradise and, particularly on Liffey Street Lower and in the burgeoning Italian quarter centred on Bloom Lane (the result of a local developer’s fascination with all things Tuscan), you’ll find plenty of stylish bars and cafés. Notable cultural landmarks east of O’Connell Street include the Abbey Theatre, centre of the twentieth-century revival in Irish theatre, and, along The Quays, the opulent eighteenth-century Custom House.
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