What is Temple Bar?
Located south of the River Liffey, Temple Bar is one of the oldest areas in Dublin, now renowned for traditional Irish bars and a buzzing atmosphere—mostly from an influx of tourists enjoying lively traditional Irish music sessions and some overpriced pints.
Dating back to the 1500s, the area of Temple Bar was known as Temple Barr, is said to be named after Sir William Temple, an English diplomat and Provost of Trinity College, who built his house and family grounds in the area. A ‘barr’ is another name for the raised estuary or embankment, used for walking on and to prevent flooding from the nearby River Liffey.
Why is Temple Bar so famous?
Temple Bar’s famous charm is characterised by its traditional cobblestones dating back to the original Anglo-Norman era—no longer found in any other part of the city.
After around the 1700s, the area of Temple Bar had hit its peak as a noble neighborhood and went into rapid decline, full of brothels and underground crime. During the 1990s, the low rent prices in this area of urban decay began to attract artists and creative types — and from there, Temple Bar as Dublin’s bohemian quarter was born. Retaining its shabby streets and somewhat dilapidated appearance, Temple Bar is one of few tourist areas in Dublin that has remained untouched by modern development, adding to its historic charm.
Temple Bar’s fame has risen due to a combination of its vibrancy and creativity as well as its reputation for ‘craic’ and ‘ceol’. When you look at the history of this special part of the city, it has a lot more to offer than street drinking, graffiti and noise pollution.
Let’s take a look at some great things Temple Bar has to offer:
Things to do near Temple Bar (that don’t involve drinking)
Believe it or not, there are lots of things to do around Temple Bar that don’t involve spending all day in the pub. Temple Bar continues to attract lots of quirky and interesting independent shops and businesses, which gives it a real bohemian feel during the day. If you’re into vintage clothing, Temple Bar is one of the best spots in Dublin to pick up great pieces, all located within walking distance from each other.
Here are just a few more of our best picks:
Tea Garden Shisha Cafe – Located just across Ha’Penny Bridge, on the opposite side of the river, the Tea Garden is a very cute Moroccan style shisha and tea bar. Downstairs off the busy streets, you’ll find a hidden candlelit space where you can relax and escape into a completely different world.
Temple Bar Food Market – Open 1-am – 4:30 pm on Saturdays, the Temple Bar Food Market sets up right in the heart of Temple Bar in Meeting House Square—selling different kinds of artisan food and street eats from around the world.
The Queen of Tarts on Cow’s Lane is a popular tourist spot, which means it can be incredibly busy.
If you’re looking for something different, we recommend going to Tamp and Stitch. It’s a lovely women’s clothing store and quiet coffee shop, where you can escape the hustle and bustle.
If you fancy a ten-minute walk from Temple Bar, Legit Coffee Co., right in the heart of the Liberties is an unbelievable hidden gem. Located very near Vicar street, this great little hipster coffee shop serves incredible brunch and amazing pastries.
Where to Eat in Temple Bar
There are so many choices for places to eat in Temple bar, which is why we’ve picked just two of our all-time favourites, to help you narrow down your choice!
Aperitivo Pizza – Just around the corner from the Olympia Theatre, this hidden gem is easy to miss amongst a heap of overpriced eateries in this area. All pizzas are freshly made in a woodfire oven, and it’s one of Dublin’s very few vegan pizza spots. While they have a dedicated vegan menu, you can also substitute most of the pizzas on the menu for vegan ingredients.
Chameleon Indonesia Cuisine – This is a truly unique experience if you’re a fan of exotic cuisine. Not only is the food to die for, you also have the option to go upstairs and sit on the floor in one of their dimly lit Middle Eastern style floor tables. Decorated with embellished cushions, twinkling lights and dark coloured walls, a delicious meal in Chameleon is well worth the slightly more expensive price tag.
Getting To Temple Bar
As Temple Bar is so central, it’s really easy to get to using all transport options. Here are your options:
From the south-side, there are a few options to find the Temple Bar area. One of the most direct routes is to walk from Trinity College towards College Green. Take a right at the Central Bank building and you will then enter the cobbled streets of Dublin’s most famous entertainment district.
From the south-side, take the 66b from outside Pearse Street station, and get off at Temple Bar, Wellington Quay.
If you’re travelling by car, be aware that Temple Bar is mostly pedestrianised. However, there is a fairly central car park, located on Fleet Street, right in the heart of the area. The easiest option by far though, is to take a taxi, especially if you are on an evening out.