Sandwiched between the busy thoroughfare of Dame Street and the Liffey, Temple Bar is marketed, with a fair dose of artistic licence, as Dublin’s “Left Bank” (inconveniently, it’s on the right bank as you face downstream). Its transformation into the city’s main cultural and entertainment district came about after a 1960s plan for a new central bus terminal here was abandoned after much procrastination. Instead, the area’s narrow cobbled streets and old warehouses, by now occupied by short-lease studios, workshops and boutiques, began to be sensitively redeveloped as an artistic quarter in the 1980s. Nowadays, as well as more galleries and arts centres than you can shake a paintbrush at – even the helpful Temple Bar Information Centre on Essex Street East houses a small exhibition space for independent, “no-grants” artists – Temple Bar shelters a huge number of restaurants, pubs and clubs, engendering a notoriously raucous nightlife scene that attracts more outsiders than Dubliners.
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