Dublin’s Temple Bar is constantly in motion. A busy area teeming with life and revellers. It’s a beast that is alive. Surely it’s a tourist driven area, but well worth spending time there if you have the luxury of sleeping in tomorrow.
Just across the Milleneum and Ha’Penny bridges, on the south side of the River Liffey, Temple Bar welcomes you with open arms. Narrow cobblestone streets and lanes, endless pubs, restaurants, characters of all types, and historical landmarks make a visit to Temple Bar an experience you won’t soon forget. If one of the goals of traveling is to meet people from foreign countries, Temple Bar delivers. If you wish to meet local Dubliners, you are undoubtedly better off in another part of town in a neighbourhood pub off the beaten path.
Buskers on Essex Street.
Whether it’s a warm Saturday night in the summer, or a rainy winter Tuesday, the party is on. In summer, pub windows are open with music and customers spilling into the streets creating something of a carnival atmosphere. You will also find some of the best buskers I’ve heard performing on those cobblestone streets. If you’re lucky, you might even catch none other than Bono joining along.
Music in pubs starts in the afternoon on any given day. A musician will play for perhaps an hour before moving on to another pub, to be replaced by another. The repertoire is a fascinating mix of familiar hits and Irish traditional. As the night goes on you will sing along. You will get hot and sweaty as crowds gather. And you will make friends. At 1 in the morning you will think “Wow, it’s amazing the number of people who don’t have to wake up tomorrow.” Of course, thousands of people drinking are bound to create problems. But in all our visits to Temple Bar – and there have been several – we have never seen or experienced any. People are there to have a good time.
Bono’s been known to drop by – scroll ahead to the 12 min mark.
It’s generally agreed Temple Bar was named after the prominent Temple family – Sir William Temple was involved with the famous Trinity College in the early 1600s. Another story states the area was named after the Temple precinct in London. On April 13, 1742, Handel’s famous Messiah was first performed in Temple Bar. In the 18th century, the area became the center of prostitution in Dublin, and over time declined in popularity until urban decay set in at the turn of the 20th century. In the 1980’s, it was proposed that buildings be demolished to make way for a bus terminal. While planning went ahead, properties were rented at low cost which attracted small shops, artists, and galleries, helping create the Temple Bar we see today. Protests led to the cancellation of the bus depot project, and the area now thrives on tourism.
Never know what you might witness in Temple Bar.
A couple years ago we spent an interesting afternoon visiting Dublinia, which explores the history of Vikings in Dublin (the city was originally a Viking settlement called Dyflin, or Duiblinn, meaning Black Pool, in reference to where River Poddle enters the Liffey). IBAT College, Trinity College, the Irish Photographic Institute, the Bank of Ireland, City Hall, Dublin Castle, O’Connell Street, Christ Church Cathedral – its long history dates back to 1028 or so, when it was built over a Viking church – are a few attractions in or near Temple Bar.
Yours truly at the Wall of Fame on Temple Lane South.
For rock and roll fan, look out for Phil Lynott’s bronze statue at the corner of Grafton and Harry Streets, a famous shopping area. You also might come across Rory Gallager Corner – think Irish Stevie Ray Vaughn. And there’s also the Irish Wall of Fame which is worth a look.
Of course, walking will make you thirsty. One of the dozens of Temple Bar pubs is sure to have a cold pint of Guinness ready for you. Or you can walk eastward along the Liffey to the Guinness factory just a few blocks away and take the tour, featuring a complimentary pint in a wonderful 360-degree view of the city. But on your way there, don’t let Jamieson’s distillery tour throw you off the path!
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See you on the road
Dianne and Mike
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Dianne & Mike