Welcome to Dublin – Europe’s Friendliest City

Dublin has been voted friendliest city in Europe by travellers on TripAdvisor not once, but twice, and is also Europe’s “youngest” capital city with over 40% of its 1 million inhabitants under 30 years of age.  Thus, it is the perfect location for the SETAC Europe 30th Annual Meeting.

Dublin was founded by the Vikings in 841, and is a city steeped in history and buzzing with energy. Among the not-to-be-missed city quarters are the Medieval Quarter, the Georgian Quarter, the Old Town (the Liberties), the Cultural quarter (Temple Bar), and the Tech Quarter (Silicon Docks).  Indeed, Dublin is widely considered ‘the internet capital of Europe’ with seven of the world’s top ten global tech companies having significant bases here including Google, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, eBay, Microsoft and Amazon.

Among the iconic symbols of Dublin are the ha’penny bridge and the Molly Malone statue, however, we have chosen more modern takes on classic Irish symbols for the SETAC Europe 30thAnnual Meeting logo. The harp, which has long been a symbol of Ireland, is immortalised in the Samuel Beckett suspension bridge which was designed to look like an Irish harp over the water, and is directly opposite the Convention Centre.  The Spire of Dublin, a large, pin-like monument 120 metres in height was built to celebrate the Millennium, but installation was delayed slightly due to environmental regulations, is a key feature of Dublin’s skyline visible from many vantage points in the city.

Dublin is a thriving centre for culture and is home to a great literary tradition – its native sons include Shaw, Yeats, Joyce, Wilde and Beckett. Indeed, 25% of Nobel Laureates for literature written in English were awarded to writers from Dublin, and Dublin is the UNESCO City of Literature. Visitors can partake in a Literary pub crawl of Dublin, including renditions of prose, verse, drama and song from Dublin’s literary hall of fame.  Dublin also has a strong musical tradition, spanning traditional music, pop, rock and more, having produced U2, Boyzone, The Script, and current stars Kodaline and Hozier (learn more at the Irish rock & roll museum).

The city’s attractions include castles, museums, art galleries, pubs and cafes. Within half an hour of the city are mountain walks, stately homes and gardens, numerous golf courses, sandy beaches and fishing villages. Dublin boasts the largest park in a European city, the Phoenix Park, which contains the Irish red deer herd, and our president’s house, Áras an Uachtaráin. A number of nature reserves and wildlife sanctuaries are easily accessible, including Bull island, winter home to Brent Geese,and the Irishtown Nature Reserve which contains many wildflowers and spectacular views.

The city is very easy to navigate around with everything within walking distance of the conference venue – the Convention Centre. A city map will be provided in your delegate pack to ensure you are familiar with the city.


The city of Dublin is known for its charming streets, colourful doorways, live music and historic architecture, as well, of course, for its bars and its famous drinks – Guinness and whiskey.

Irish history comes to life at the EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum, located in the historic vaults of the CHQ Building at Custom House Quay, which delves into the past of Ireland’s diaspora – over 10 million people who left Ireland’s shores throughout history, in brilliant interactive detail. Kilmainham goal is the largest unoccupied prison in Europe and holds countless tales within its thick, cold walls.  Many of Ireland’s foremost political figures passed through its cells, including Robert Emmet, Charles Stewart Parnell, President Eamon de Valera, and the leaders of the 1916 Rising (14 of whom were executed in the stonecutter’s yard). The Little Museum of Dublin, on Stephen’s Green includes items donated by Dubliners themselves, and an exhibition – U2 Made in Dublin, which tells the story of the city’s most famous rock band from 1976 to the present day.

The Temple Bar area is a maze of narrow streets full of pubs and live music. Located on the south side of the River Liffey, it’s one of the oldest areas in Dublin and home to some of the most famous bars in Ireland.  The “Black Stuff” is famous the world-over and indeed its advertisements are instantly recognisable – while the Guinness storehouse tour no longer includes the actual brewing process, it does provide a multimedia exhibition on everything from retro advertising to the craft of brewing, topped off with a pint in the 360-degree Gravity Bar.

Bewley’s café on Grafton Street, one of Dublin’s most iconic and celebrated landmarks, is well worth a stop.  The much-loved café has been restored with many elements of the original café retained including the Harry Clarke windows, the historic front façade of the café and the open fireplaces.  Great teas and coffees are accompanied by the beautiful Bewley’s Café Gourmand, Coffee Opera Cake and, original favourite, the Bewley’s Mary Cake.  Definitely not to be missed.

Coastal walks – Bull island and the Irishtown nature reserve were mentioned above.  Other highly recommended activities include the Howth cliff walk where you’ll find some of the best seafood in Dublin, weekend markets for the perfect souvenir and coastal hikes with unimaginable views over the Irish sea, as well as friendly seals.  At the other side of Dublin bay, the walk up to Bray head or indeed for the more energetic the walk from Bray to Greystones (and potentially the Dart back).  Dublin Bay was designated a UNESCO biosphere reserve, thanks to its cultural and biological diversity.  Booterstown bird sanctuary is easily accessible also.

Other suggestions for things to see and do in Dublin are available here.

With this short introduction, it is our great pleasure to invite you to the SETAC Europe 30th Annual Meeting, held on 3-7 May 2020 in Dublin. We hope that you will enjoy plenty of good science as well as plenty of the famous Irish “craic” (fun) during your visit.

Fáilte go Baile Átha Cliath!