Temple Bar, Dublin

General Post Office, Ireland
The famous Temple Bar. Image credit: infomatique

The cobbled streets of Temple Bar are a highlight of any visit to Ireland. It’s a vibrant, bustling area with more to see and do than most visitors have time for. But there’s no harm in trying to see and do it all. It’s a visitor’s rite of passage.

Temple Bar almost missed becoming the vibrant hub that it is today. The area had fallen into neglect for much of the 20th century, and was finally nominated for redevelopment in the early 1990s. Dublin buzzed with rumours regarding its fate. Some said it was going to be paved and turned into a giant parking lot. Others heard that it was going to be developed into a bus terminal.

But Temple Bar had a loftier fate in store. Today, it’s often compared to Notting Hill in London, strewn with cobblestone streets, bohemian boutiques and hip restaurants. You’ll find everything from vintage clothing and antique art to bars blaring trad music late into the evening. Several cultural institutions are found here, too, including the National Photographic Archives, the Irish Film Institute, the Ark Children’s Cultural Institute and the Project Arts Centre.

Meeting house Square is a particularly popular area of Temple Bar. It’s named for a nearby Quaker meeting house and has hosted the Speaker’s Square project (for public speaking) since 2004. Outdoor film screenings are also hosted here during the summer months.

On weekdays, there’s a bohemian air to Temple Bar. Tourists populate the pedestrian avenues, lounge at street-side cafés and pop into bookstores. But the atmosphere changes at the weekend. A food market, book market and fashion and design market are held on Saturdays or Sundays – or both in some cases.

The music is cranked up on weekend nights and the party really gets going. Don’t come looking for an authentic Ireland pub experience. That said, there’s no shame in diving in. This is the sort of nightlife you would expect from a 21st century European capital. 

Photos of Temple Bar:

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Buskers in Temple Bar, Dublin. Photo credit: fhwrdh

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Food market in Temple Bar, Dublin. Photo credit: cynren

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Temple Bar in the evening. Photo credit: LWY

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The Quays Bar in Temple Bar area. Photo credit: infomatique

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