Dublin 4 is a historic postal district of Dublin, Ireland including Baggot Street Upper and the suburbs of Ballsbridge, Donnybrook, Irishtown, Merrion, Ringsend (including South Lotts and parts of Grand Canal Dock) and Sandymount, on the South side of Dublin. Most of the area was known as Pembroke Township until 1930 when it was absorbed by the City and County Borough of Dublin. Under Ireland's Eircode system the postcode is now rendered D04.
'Dublin 4' or its abbreviation, 'D4', is sometimes used as a pejorative adjective to describe Dublin's upper-middle class based on the perceived characteristics of residents of this area. However, it sometimes even used to refer to the Irish upper middle class in general, regardless of whether or not they live in the D4 area. In this sense the term signifies a set of attitudes apparently in opposition to those held by "the plain people of Ireland" by Irish commentators such as Desmond Fennell.
While the area has, for most of its existence, been seen as well-to-do, the use of the term "D4" as an adjective emerged in the 1990s. The fictional jock Ross O'Carroll-Kelly was meant as a caricature of this.
The term has been used to describe very aspirational middle-class people from south Dublin and also used by Fianna Fáil members who like to portray themselves as being on the side of "the plain people of Ireland".
In the early 1980s, a group of people in Dublin 4 developed a different accent, partly in rejection of older views of Irishness. The accent was known as "Dublin 4", "Dartspeak" or later "DORTspeak/Formers Morket" (after the Dublin 4 pronunciation of DART, which runs through the area). It has also been noticed that people who move into the area and parts of south Dublin from outside the county and who would normally speak in their native accent develop the DORT accent as well. The accent quickly became the subject of ridicule.
Two examples of "Dublin 4" being used to refer to alleged wealth:
The area desperately needs the retention of this kind of local community hospital. It covers Dublin 2, 4 and 6 and, because of the writings of a journalist who hails from the west but has chosen to live in Dublin, the connotation Dublin 4 has a very salubrious image which suggests considerable affluence. The reality is that many of the population in the catchment area of this hospital are not affluent.— Ruairi Quinn, Dáil Éireann Debate, 21 May 1987
The Minister is probably aware that, not far from here, is the mythical place called Dublin 4. In our vision of Dublin 4 we think of Shrewsbury Road, Donnybrook and people who have access to power and money. As Eoghan Harris said, it is almost a state of mind. However, there is another part of Dublin 4, which I know very well, where there is 70 per cent unemployment, drug problems and deprivation. We do not hear much about that part of Dublin 4.— John Gormley, Dáil Éireann Debate, 28 January 1999
Sometimes the antonym plain people of Ireland or plain people was contrasted with it:
One of the difficulties with modern newspapers is that there is an increasing tendency to portray opinions as facts. This is particularly evident in the Sunday Independent. If one tries to find news in it, apart from the lead story which itself is sometimes not news, one finds a preponderance of articles from self-proclaimed experts who tend to be from middle class backgrounds – dare I say Dublin 4 types, which is a state of mind rather than a geographic location. These articles tend to reflect the attitudes of a particular section of society and regard those attitudes as dominant. There does not appear to be a balance in the attitudes represented by the newspaper. However, the plain people have enough sense to sift out what is good and what is bad. Frequently, the attitudes represented by the newspaper do not reflect the attitudes dominant within the country as a whole, but thankfully, the plain people have enough good sense to resist them.— Former Senator John Dardis, Seanad Éireann Debate, 9 February 2005
- Fennell, Nice People and Rednecks:Ireland in the 1980s (Gill & Macmillan, 1986) and Stephen Howe, Ireland and Empire (Oxford, 2002) pp. 77, 120.
- How Dublin 4 turned into Dublin forlorn, By Kim Bielenberg, Sunday Independent, 8 August 2009, retrieved 17 December 2009
- Siobhán Marie Kilfeather (2005). Dublin: A Cultural History. Oxford University Press. pp. 21–22. ISBN 978-0-19-518201-9.
- Raymond Hickey (2005). Dublin English: Evolution and Change. John Benjamins Publishing. p. 45. ISBN 90-272-4895-8.
- Raymond Hickey (2005). Dublin English: Evolution and Change. John Benjamins Publishing. p. 47. ISBN 90-272-4895-8.
- "Adjournment Debate. - Royal City of Dublin Hospital". 21 May 1987.
- John Gormley, speaking in Dáil Éireann, 28 January 1999 Archived 25 September 2012 at the Wayback Machine
- Senator John Dardis, speaking in Seanad Éireann, 9 February 2005 Archived 25 August 2012 at the Wayback Machine