Temple Bar, Dublin

Coordinates: 53°20′44″N 6°15′46″W / 53.34556°N 6.26278°W / 53.34556; -6.26278

Street sign from Temple Bar

Temple Bar (Irish: Barra an Teampaill) is an area on the south bank of the River Liffey in central Dublin, Ireland. The area is bounded by the Liffey to the north, Dame Street to the south, Westmoreland Street to the east and Fishamble Street to the west. Unlike other parts of Dublin's city centre, it is promoted as Dublin's cultural quarter and has a lively nightlife that is popular with tourists. Popular venues include The Palace Bar, The Temple Bar Pub, Oliver St. John Gogarty's and The Auld Dubliner (fine boys bar).

Temple Bar is in the postcode Dublin 2 (D2), and has an estimated population of 3,000.


Temple Bar

The historic name of the district was not Temple Bar but St. Andrews Parish. It was a suburb of medieval (Anglo-Norman) Dublin, located outside the city walls, but it fell into disuse beginning in the 14th century because the land was exposed to attacks by the native Irish. The land was redeveloped again in the 17th century, to create gardens for the houses of wealthy English families.

The original line of the Liffey shore was marked by Essex Street-Temple Bar-Fleet Street, but land beyond was progressively walled in and reclaimed. Unusually, the reclaimed land was not quayed initially, but had houses adjoining the water's edge, and it was not until 1812 that these houses were replaced by Wellington Quay. Bernard de Gomme's Map of Dublin 1673 shows the major reclamation and new building which had taken place in the eastern suburbs south of the Liffey in the course of the 17th century. De Gomme's is the earliest map or document specifically to refer to Temple Bar, and other familiar streets in the area are Dammas (Dame) Street and Dirty (formerly Hogges, now Temple) Lane.[1]

Many sources agree that Temple Bar Street got its name from the Temple family, and specifically Sir William Temple (provost of Trinity College from 1609-1627), whose house and gardens were located there in the early 17th century. However, given the existence of a storied district of the same name in London, it seems that the new Temple Bar street of Dublin must have been a nod to its older and more famous cousin.

Furthermore, London's Temple Bar is adjoined by Essex Street to the west and Fleet Street to the east, and streets of the same names occupy similar positions in relation to Dublin's Temple Bar. It seems almost certain therefore that Dublin's Temple Bar was named firstly in imitation of the historic Temple precinct in London. However, a secondary and equally plausible reason for using the name Temple Bar in Dublin would be a reference to one of the area's most prominent families, in a sort of pun or play on words. Or as it has been put more succinctly, Temple Bar 'does honour to London and the landlord in nicely-gauged proportions’.[2]

Fishamble Street near Temple Bar was the location of the first performance of Handel's Messiah on 13 April 1742. An annual performance of the Messiah is held on the same date at the same location. A republican revolutionary group, the Society of the United Irishmen, was formed at a meeting in a tavern in Eustace Street in 1791.

In the 18th century it was the centre of prostitution in Dublin.[3] During the 19th century, the area slowly declined in popularity, and in the 20th century, it suffered from urban decay, with many derelict buildings.

In the 1980s, the state-owned transport company Córas Iompair Éireann (C.I.É.) proposed to buy up and demolish property in the area and build a bus terminus in its place. While that was in the planning stages, the purchased buildings were let out at low rents, which attracted small shops, artists and galleries to the area. Protests by An Taisce, residents and traders led to the cancellation of the bus station project, and then Taoiseach Charles Haughey was responsible for securing funding,[4] and, in 1991, the government set up a not-for-profit company called Temple Bar Properties to oversee the regeneration of the area as Dublin's cultural quarter.[5]

In 1999, "Stag Parties" and "Hen Nights" were supposedly banned (or discouraged) from Temple Bar, mainly due to drunken loutish behaviour, although this seems to have lapsed.[6] However, noise and anti-social behaviour usually fueled by excessive alcohol consumption remain a problem at night.[7]

Present day

Entrance from Merchant's Arch

The area is the location of many Irish cultural institutions, including the Irish Photography Centre (incorporating the Dublin Institute of Photography, the National Photographic Archive and the Gallery of Photography), the Ark Children's Cultural Centre, the Irish Film Institute, incorporating the Irish Film Archive, the Button Factory, the Arthouse Multimedia Centre, Temple Bar Gallery and Studios, the Project Arts Centre, the Gaiety School of Acting, IBAT College Dublin, as well as the Irish Stock Exchange and the Central Bank of Ireland.

The Oliver St John Gogarty Pub in Temple Bar

After dark, the area is a major centre for nightlife, with many tourist-focused nightclubs, restaurants and bars. Pubs in the area include The Temple Bar Pub, The Porterhouse, the Oliver St. John Gogarty, the Turk's Head, Czech Inn (in the former Isolde's Tower), the Quays Bar, the Foggy Dew, The Auld Dubliner and Bad Bobs.

Two squares have been renovated in recent years Meetinghouse Square and the central Temple Bar Square. The Temple Bar Book Market is held on Saturdays and Sundays in Temple Bar Square.

Meetinghouse Square, which takes its name from the nearby Quaker Meeting House, is used for outdoor film screenings in the summer months. Since summer 2004, Meetinghouse Square is also home to the Speaker's Square project (an area of Public speaking) and to the Temple Bar Food Market every Saturday.

The Cow's Lane Market is a fashion and design market which takes place on Cow's Lane every Saturday.

Part of the 13th century Augustinian Friary of the Holy Trinity is visible within an apartment/restaurant complex called "The Friary."[8]

See also


  1. Sean Murphy, “A Short History of Dublin's Temple Bar”, Centre for Irish Genealogical and Historical Studies, Bray, County Wicklow. Online here
  2. Murphy, op. cit., quoting National Library of Ireland, ‘’Historic Dublin Maps’’, Dublin 1988.
  3. Striapacha Tri Chead Bliain Duailcis (Prostitutes: Three Hundred Years of Vice) Niamh O’Reilly, J Irish Studies
  4. Obituary Charles Haughey, The Independent 14 June 2006
  5. Temple Bar Framework Plan - Dublin Corporation(1991)
  6. Bar Stag Ban Sends Revellers To London- Sunday Mirror, January 3, 1999
  7. Nightmare in a city that never sleeps - Irish Times, September 9, 2008
  8. Casey, Christine (2005). Dublin: The City Within the Grand and Royal Canals and the Circular Road with the Phoenix Park. Yale University Press. p. 440. ISBN 0300109237.
  9. http://filmireland.net/2011/09/29/bollywood-film-%e2%80%98ek-tha-tiger%e2%80%99-i-am-tiger-shoots-in-temple-bar-dublin-in-october/
  10. Kehoe, Michael (13 October 2014). "Singer warns of Dublin tourist trap". Irish Music Daily. Retrieved 27 August 2015.
  11. "Stayin' Up All Night". www.nathancartermusic.com. Retrieved 2016-07-27.
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