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Temple Bar, Dublin, Ireland

July 26th, 2006 / / Links: Google Earth, Google Maps, Yahoo! Maps, Virtual Earth / Nearest places

Temple Bar (Barra an Teampaill in Irish) is an area on the south bank of the River Liffey in central Dublin, Ireland. Unlike the areas surrounding it, Temple Bar has preserved its medieval street pattern, with many narrow cobbled streets. It is Dublin's cultural quarter and has a lively nightlife that is popular with tourists.

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. It probably got its name from the Temple family, who lived in the area in the 17th century. Sir William Temple, provost of Trinity College Dublin in 1609, had his house and gardens in the area. Alternatively, it could have been named in imitation of the Temple Bar in London. However it got its name, the earliest historical reference to the name Temple Bar is on a 1673 map.

Fishamble Street in 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.

The republican revolutionary group, the Society of the United Irishmen, was formed at a meeting in a tavern in Eustace Street in 1791.

During the 19th century, the area slowly declined in popularity, and in the 20th century, it suffered from urban decay, with many derelict buildings. Its unfashionability probably saved it from Dublin's property developers, who destroyed much of the city's historic architecture during the 1960s.

In the 1980s, the state-owned transport company Córas Iompair Éireann proposed to buy up and demolish property in the area and build a bus terminus in its place. While this 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, 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.

The area is the location of many Irish cultural institutions, including the Irish Photography Centre (incorporating the Dublin Institute of Photography, the National Photographic Archives and the Gallery of Photography), the Ark Children's Cultural Centre, the Irish Film Institute, incorporating the Irish film archive, the Temple Bar Music Centre, the Arthouse Multimedia Centre, Temple Bar Gallery and Studio, the Project Arts Centre, the Gaiety School of Acting and the Central Bank of Ireland.

After dark, the area is a major centre for nightlife, with many tourist-focused nightclubs, restaurants and bars. Pubs in the area include the Porterhouse, the Oliver St. John Gogarty, the Turk's Head, the Temple Bar, Isolde's Tower, the Quays Bar, the MEZZ, the Foggy Dew and Eamon Doran's, as well as the newly flourishing Bayfire. Two new squares have been created in recent years — Meetinghouse Square and Temple Bar Square. Meetinghouse Square has been used for outdoor film screenings in the summer months. Since summer 2004, Meetinghouse Square is also home to the Speaker's Square project, which is similar to Speaker's Corner in London.

Meetinghouse Square is home 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. The Temple Bar Book Market is held on Saturdays and Sundays in Temple Bar Square.

In July 2005, visiting American singer Aimee Mann described her shock at encountering "overflowing pubs, drunks, urine stains and pools of vomit". This and other increasingly adverse coverage has led to the introduction in October 2005 of a "Play Nice" campaign to help the area recover its bohemian image.

[Source: Wikipedia]

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