Temple Bar, Dublin
Lively street markets and alternative boutiques fill the cobbled lanes and alleys of the Temple Bar quarter with life during the day. At night, the area turns into a heaving throng of pleasure seekers flitting from bar to bar, taking in live music, theatre and movies or strengthening themselves at one of Temple Bar's many eateries.
Temple Bar Today
The Temple Bar quarter lies on the southern bank of the River Liffey. The area is roughly shaped like a rectangle and is bordered by the Liffey to the North, Fishamble Street and Dublin Castle to the West, Dame Street and Lord Edward Street to the South and finally by Trinity College and the Central Bank to the East.
It is hard to believe, but the picturesque charms of Temple Bar could well have been buried under the ugly concrete of a huge bus depot instead. It is a testament to the undefeatable spirit of Dublin folks that the area was rejuvenated, saved from demolition and eventually turned into Ireland's premier cultural quarter.
Temple Bar History
The Vikings settled here in 795. Remains of their settlement's fortifications can still be seen at Dublin Castle. Some 800 years later, the English diplomat and provost of Trinity College, Sir William Temple, had his residence and gardens here in the early 17th century. By the end of the 17th century the area had acquired the name it still goes by today, Temple Bar.
The arrival of a new customs house in 1707 - on the site where U2's Clarence Hotel stands today - brought money and a flurry of activity into the once pastoral area. Warehouses shot up at every corner and taverns, theatres and brothels followed suit.
The boom lasted barely a century. When customs officials moved into new, larger premises on the Northside of the Liffey in 1791, the bubble burst and Temple Bar fell into disrepair.
A run-down inner city slum by the mid-20th century, Temple Bar was long written off when state transport company CIE started buying up property here in the 1980's with the view to building a huge bus depot. While waiting for planning permission by the city, CIE decided to let out the empty premises at cheap rates. Attracted by the bargain rents, artists, fringe boutiques and alternative eateries started to shoot up all over Temple Bar.
The lively, buzzing quarter was received well by Dubliners and resistance against CIE plans to raze Temple Bar grew. Finally, the Irish state got involved in 1991 and set up a non-profit company to oversee the future development of Temple Bar. So instead of buses being washed and serviced on the Southbank of the Liffey, you can still enjoy the unique bohemian atmosphere in Temple Bar's cobbled lanes.
Temple Bar Shopping
Temple Bar's laneways are filled with small boutiques, vintage clothing shops, tattoo studios, record shops, jewellery designers, unusual designer furniture, 60's and 70's retro chic and more. If you are looking for something young and trendy, Temple Bar offers the funky alternative to the more established shops around nearby Grafton Street.
Temple Bar Markets
Street markets play a key part in the Temple Bar experience. The Temple Bar Food Market on Meeting House Square is a Dublin institution. Every Saturday from 10:00 to 16:30, Dubliners flock here to pick up Irish farmhouse cheeses, fresh oysters, local meat products, organic vegetables and handmade chocolates. The Temple Bar Food Market is the place to go for artisanal Irish food products, either as great presents or to furnish a picnic in nearby Phoenix Park or St Stephen's Green.
The Temple Bar Book Market offers a wide choice of secondhand and new books on Temple Bar Square. Practically every interest is catered for, but you will likely find a particularly good range of books on Ireland and Irish topics. The Book Market is on every weekend, Saturdays and Sundays, between 11:00 and 18:00.
The Designer Mart in Cow Lane on the eastern fringes of Temple Bar is the place to browse for handmade clothing and jewellery, arty knick knacks, one-off T-shirts and vintage 70's or 80's fashions. The Designer Mart runs between 10:00 and 17:00 every Saturday from March to December.
Eating Out In Temple Bar
Temple Bar is easily the most 'European' part of Dublin. Whatever the weather, you will find trendy Dublin types sipping their Espresso on the pavement in front of one of the many cafes and snack bars. During the day and at night, life in Temple Bar takes place in the streets - More so than in any other part of town.
If you are looking for a drink or a bite to eat, this is the place to go. The choice is staggering. From relaxed cafes to formal dining, from Italian, Asian, Creole gumbos, Modern European, traditional Irish home cooking to pizza and gourmet burgers - Everything is available in Temple Bar. If you feel like pushing the boat out a bit, the top end choice for formal dining in Temple Bar is the Tea Room at the Clarence Hotel.
For a bit of real Temple Bar people watching, head for the cheap and cheerful Bad Ass Cafe at 9-11 Crown Alley. This place has remained pretty much unchanged since 1983 and is full of typical Temple Bar atmosphere. Ask for a table near the huge glass window front of the Bad Ass and watch the world go by.
Temple Bar At Night
You get excellent pubs and bars all over Dublin, but only in Temple Bar will you be able to literally step out of one pub and straight into the next one without as much as hitting the pavement in between. Temple Bar pubs are always busy and you are almost guaranteed to never have a dull moment.
Music is in the air all over Temple Bar, from traditional Irish folk to the latest international bands and DJs at the Button Factory. If you prefer a quieter form of entertainment, why not join Dublin folks queuing up for a theatre play or a performance at the New Theatre or the Projects Art Centre. Alternatively, you can watch an Irish made film or an international art house movie at the Irish Film Institute.
How To Get To Temple Bar
The 16, 53 and 123 buses all stop on the southern periphery of Temple Bar. Just ask the driver when you are getting on to let you know when you've reached your stop. The 41 stops at Eden Quay on the northern edge of Temple Bar. The Jervis stop on the Red Luas is a five minute walk away from Temple Bar. Just walk south towards the river Liffey and cross it over one of the two pedestrian bridges: The classic Ha'penny Bridge or the brand new Millennium Bridge