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An area in the centre of Dublin noted for it's high density of bars and, last time i was there, drunk stag and hen parties from England.

Temple Bar used to be a poor place to live, then all of the poor people moved out because the people that owned the property never kept it very well. Then the property got developed, now rich people live there.

It is right by the river Liffey and a pretty convenient stopping off place for boats, at least this must have been what the Vikings thought because in the mid 80's one of the most important Viking archaeological sites in Europe was discovered while the local governing body was digging foundations for a new office complex.

Undeterred, the local governing body decided that a nice very large cube of concrete was better for the people of Dublin than a rotting old ship. The development of Temple Bar has not looked back since.

In the year since siren wrote his writeup, Temple Bar has, probably somewhat predictably, developed even more pubs and clubs. Several 'superpubs' are currently under construction, themed to provide for various tastes, all to capitalise on the hordes of drinkers trying to get into full bars on weekend nights.

The drunken stag and hen parties are still here, although many establishments have begun closing their doors to them, either after complaints from locals, or damage to property. First went the stag parties, but now even hen parties are being turned away at some doors. It's worth mentioning that a majority of these parties are made up of people from the UK... not that Irish people are any less obnoxious when drunk... they're probably even more so.

Temple Bar remains the curse of Dublin (at least for women wearing high heels on the uneven cobblestones), and is mostly populated by tourists, market-goers at the weekend, and underage drinkers/stag parties at night. Not a good combination come to think of it.

It is customary for the residents of any city to sneer at that city's more touristy haunts. Temple Bar, however, is really not as bad as dedicated Dubs like to make it out to be. It is comprised of a series of small alleys and side streets off of one long main street, running from Parliament St. to Westmorland St. and College Green, flanked by the river on one side and by Dame St., one of Dublin's busiest streets, on the other.

A lot of money went into turning Temple Bar into an art colony or urban creative centre. These days no struggling artist (and few successful ones) could dream of affording studio space in so central a location. However, there are still numerous art galleries in the area, as well as the Irish Film Centre (which has a very good programme of old, arthouse and foreign movies). A lot of the architecture is suitably modern and experimental, but in the best possible sense; particular notice should be given to the Earth House, a residential building built entirely out of natural materials and having a local water source of its own, as well as solar and geothermal electricity.

During the day, Temple Bar is a veritable alternative shopping mall - Che Guevara t-shirts, goth boots, kinky jewelery, tattoo parlours (OK, one tatoo parlour - but then it's not a very big place), second hand clothes and CDs, and whatever else you can imagine art students would like to wear. It also has a large number of middle of the way eateries, almost exclusively geared towards tourists and some with annoyingly "Oirish" themes. One exception is the Irish restaurnat Gallagher's - it's overpriced and twee, but the boxties are lovely and they stock real ales and other beers from a small and apparently very highly regarded local brewery (not being a beer fan, I don't remember its name). Don't let anything tempt you into the Mongolian Barbeque, however. Bleurgh.

The trendy centre of Temple Bar is located around Temple Bar Square, with several rather swish restaurants (Luigi Malones, Fitzers, Trastevere) around the perimeter. A branch of the hyper-cool clothing and lifestyle emporium Urban Outfitters has recently been opened, and though it occupies and entire block, one of the exits is to the aquare. By crude rule of thumb, I'd say everything within view of the square is as trendy, mediocre and overpriced as everything in that shop.

The Parliament St. end of Temple Bar is home to several very good restaurant, in quieter and more secluded locations and therefore more attractive to locals. Eden is my current favourite restaurant in Dublin (but not for the faint of wallet), and the Tea Room in the Clarence Hotel is not only very nice, but also very popular with visiting film and rock stars.

To summarise, although large chunks of Temple Bar are entirely to be avoided (pubs with trad nights and anchors hanging from the ceiling, in particular), and despite the fact that on warm weekends it turns into and outdoor meat market, it is still more than worth a visit on a quiet, sunny weekday. It is atmospheric and almost entirely closed to traffic, making it a perfect location for a low-intensity sight seeing day out for all the family.

The original Temple Bar was one of the ancient gates of the City of London, at the western end where Fleet Street becomes the Strand. It is the ceremonial boundary where the Sovereign enters the City and is greeted by the Lord Mayor. For most of the last seven hundred years the Bar was an arched building across the street, and one of its uses was to display the heads of traitors.

The Temple is the district between Fleet Street and the River Thames, and here after the Knights Templar were dispersed the lawyers of London made their headquarters. Two of the four Inns of Court are now here, called the Inner Temple and the Middle Temple. The first mention of the street being closed off by some kind of bar on the north side of the Temple is in 1293.

In 1351 it was replaced by a wooden gateway with three arches, and a prison above it. This survived the Great Fire of London but was in a decayed state, so as part of the rebuilding of the City it was replaced in 1672 by a great Portland stone edifice in Corinthian style, designed by Sir Christopher Wren. This still exists, but not in London, though it is due to return later this year. Traitors' heads atop the Bar were a popular tourist attraction between 1684 and 1746.

By 1878 London traffic was too great to allow such a constriction on the main east-west thoroughfare. On the north side of the Strand the ornate, Neo-Gothic Royal Courts of Justice were being built; and they took the opportunity to carefully dismantle Wren's Temple Bar and store it. It was later bought by Sir Henry and Lady Meux (pronounced "Myooks") and re-erected in 1889 at their home of Theobald's Park (pronounced "Tibbalds") in Hertfordshire (pronounced "Haafadsha"), where it has remained until now. Having been dismantled again, it will soon be rebuilt in London, not near the place called Temple Bar, but in a redeveloped Paternoster Square near St Paul's. (I don't know how we're going to refer to the two separated Temple Bars come November.)

Today the ceremonial gate and bound of the City of London is marked by a tall and ornate pedestal in the centre of the road, with royal statuary in the niches, and topped by a great metal dragon, symbol of London. This Temple Bar Memorial was erected in 1880.

http://www.thetemplebar.info/ --for most of this; and lots of pictures
http://www.photolondon.org.uk/nmr/nmr_temple.htm --for a good photo
http://www.leevalley-online.co.uk/towns/misc/theobalds.htm --for Theobald's Park

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