Dublin has experienced great and often astonishing change in its 1,400 year history. It has been the largest urban center on a deeply contested island since towns first appeared west of the Irish Sea. There have been other contested cities in the European and Mediterranean world, but almost no European capital city, David Dickson maintains, has seen sharper discontinuities and reversals in its history and these have left their mark on Dublin and its inhabitants. Dublin occupies a unique place in Irish history and the Irish imagination. To chronicle its vast and varied history is to tell the story of Ireland.