Temple Bar , Dublin

temple-bar-dublin-irelandOn a tour of Ireland , we at Ireland Luxury Tours like to allow our clients to explore Dublin by themselves.

A major reason for that is to allow them to discover the wonderful area of Temple Bar.

Temple Bar is a colourful quarter of Dublin City which, almost accidentally it could be said, over the years developed a bohemian ‘Left Bank’ character, while retaining in its cobbled streets and old buildings a charm no longer to be found in many other parts of the city. The Temple Bar district extends from Fishamble Street in the west to Westmoreland Street in the east, and from the River Liffey in the north to Lord Edward Street-Dame Street-College Green in the south. The bulk of the Temple Bar area is within the boundaries of St Andrew’s Parish, while portions to the west are in St Werburgh’s and St John’s Parishes.

It should be stressed that ‘Temple Bar’ is not an actual historic name for the quarter, but rather one selected relatively recently for convenience, from the name of the street on which the area is roughly centered. Having been saved from destruction in circumstances described more fully below, the Temple Bar quarter was entrusted in 1991 to the administration of a government-sponsored body, Temple Bar Properties Ltd. The ‘mission’ of Temple Bar Properties was ‘to develop a bustling cultural, residential and small-business precinct that will attract visitors in significant numbers’.

Some of Dublin’s best night spots, restaurants and unusual shops line these narrow, cobbled streets running between the Bank of Ireland and Christ Church Cathedral. In the 18th century the area was home to many insalubrious characters-Fownes Street was noted for its brothels. It was also the birthplace of parliamentarian Henry Grattan. Skilled craftsmen and artisans, such as clockmakers and printers, lived and worked around Temple Bar until post-Emergency (post-war) industrialisation led to a decline in the area’s fortunes. In the 1970s, the CIE (national transport authority) bought up parcels of land in this area to build a major bus depot. While waiting to acquire the land in this area to buildings needed, the CIE rented out, on cheap leases, some of the old retail and warehouse premises to young artists and to record, clothing and book shops. The area developed an “alternative” identity and a successful lobby by local residents persuaded CIE to drop their plans. As more cynical Dubliners put it, the area became the city’s “officially designated arts zone”. But while the new investment and planning may have added a slight air of contrivance, it’s still an exciting, atmospheric and essentially very young place. Organisations based here include the Irish Film Centre (IFC), the experimental Projects Arts Centre and around a dozen galleries. There are also centres for music, multi-media and photography as well as a Children’s Cultural Centre-an arts centre offering theatre, workshops and other entertainment for children.