It is a well-known pattern of cities that over time business changes, industries close down or shift away, and whole areas fall into decline and decay. Rents drop and artists move in. Gradually the area becomes lively again, interesting, attractive. Cafes and bars open and flourish and the area becomes a cultural hub. So it was with Temple Bar in Dublin.
Once a docklands, the area fell into decline when the docks moved further east on the Liffey. In the 1970s the land was sold to be redeveloped as a bus depot, but while the endless permissions and money were being obtained, properties were rented out to artists. They made such a home there that in the 1980 a lobby group was formed to save the area, gaining hefty support from the Irish Government. And so the area was preserved and another example of community over development is to be cheered. Particularly because the area has retained its medieval street layout unlike much of Dublin.
Temple Bar is wonderful for its lively atmosphere with music and art in bars and cafes. There are design shops particularly in Cow’s Lane; record, book and clothing stores; jugglers, restaurants and nightclubs. Head for Temple Bar Music Centre, or the National Photographic Archive and Gallery, Temple Bar Gallery and Studio – you get the cultural idea! On weekends there are markets in Cow’s Lane, Meetinghouse Square and Temple House Square, and in summer, outdoor film screenings are held in Meetinghouse Square. And where did that name come from? Well, probably not where you’re expecting: Temple was the name of the wealthy man whose house and garden occupied the area in the 17th century, and Bar means riverside walk.