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Posts Tagged ‘Temple Bar’

I don’t think I have to say anything here other than… The Rubber Bandits. In Temple Bar. Brilliant.

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Dropping into a pub like this (by which I mean any pub in Temple Bar) is always a risk. It’s no lie to say that you’d be very hard pushed to find a non- tourist frequenting them, Foggy Dew aside, and maybe that’s for a good reason. So, after a long day of work for me, and a hard days sticking it to the man for DFallon and mate Ois, we decided to head somewhere we’d never been before, and drink a pint to friends injured during Wednesday’s madness.

The Auld Dub

DFallon suggested The Auld Dub, and I agreed, having a mate that works there and being curious as to how the place fares up. The fare was up alright, a pint of Guinness costing €4.85, a good 60c dearer than Brogan’s only five minute walk away. No doubt they sell a good many pints at that price, though we wondered how many half pints of it the floor staff have to pick up at the end of the night. (Its always funny to see someone who has never drank Guinness before order a pint of it, take one taste and then ask for a Heineken instead, not being elitist in the slightest, its more a nod to the advertising power of Diageo; GUINNESS IN IRELAND IS THE BEST THING EVER.)

But anyways, the pub. Suprisingly un-kitsch for a touristy spot, the place looks great inside, a horseshoe bar dominating the interior with a staircase on either side, one up and one down to the (almost spotless, apart fron the “Love United, Hate Glazer” stickers) jacks. Pictures of visitors line the walls, and beside our table, a frame with a dozen or so of the Arthur’s Day beermats from last year takes pride of palce. The pint soured very quickly, I’m not sure why- it wasn’t that we were drinking slowly or anything, but by the time I got to the end of mine, I could have taken it or left it to be honest. So we didn’t stay long and decided to wander down and check out the banners on the Ha’penny and Millenium Bridges instead.

Just as we were getting ready to go, some live music started, a one-man-band idea, one bloke banging away on his guitar, everything from The Virgin Prunes to Green Day to Sting (Roxanne, and a group of what sounded like Swedish blokes seemed delighted, taking the oppurtunity to play the drinking game of the same name.)

Leaving the pub and heading out into the night, we stopped to have a gander at the mystery plaque on the ground outside. Ois had asked the barman if he knew the story behind it but alas, the mystery goes on…

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The Garage Bar- Essex Street, Temple Bar.

Amazingly enough, The Plough and the Stars was sold out. I’ve seen it (Review is here, cheeky plug), but young Kevin hasn’t and presumed he could pay on the door. Alas, you can’t. We wander up to The New Theatre, at the back of Connolly Books, where it is more or less the same for The Quare Fellow. “If you call back in twenty minutes, we’ll let you know of any returns”

Twenty minutes seems time enough for a pint.

Alas, the night is gone. We’re not leaving The Garage now. I’ve often walked past this place on the way to work and heard The Clash pumping out and wanted to head in there and then, and sometimes I’ve gone back post-work for a sneaky one with another ‘just off work’ comrade or two. It’s a small spot, but it seems to have someone spinning vinyl (or at least sounding like they’re spinning vinyl) in it over the whole week. It offers a pretty extensive cocktail menu, at least by the standards of this city. The look of the place is unique, a sawdust littered floor not too common in Temple Bar. It has a charm but.

A Black Russian pops over (Not the start of a joke) to the table from behind the bar, they had one over. I don’t want to touch it, a bizarre hybrid on paper consisting of Guinness, vodka and whatever else. Alas, it is surprisingly ok. On a sunny day visit here before this, I abandoned the ‘usual’ (Eh…just a pint thanks) for a few cocktails out the front in the sun with a friend, while Germans ran around us playing Vuvuzelas. Like a few Dublin pubs, it seems outside is the place to be on a busy night here.

Three rounds are ordered in, and each one passes the test. The Guinness is fine, reasonable in Temple Bar at €4.50, and seems popular enough with punters. It’s the music that’d keep you here, and bring you back. It passes the pint test and the music test, and I really like ‘the look’ they’ve gone for,but for some reason they have the tellies on too. Turn ’em off. A very small complaint that.

A quick glance at the watch, and there’s time for one more. By now, The Quare Fellow is long over too. I’m sure Brendan missed a play or two for a drink.

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Dance around the fountain with your Spanish friends.

We’re in Pygmalion, and the drinks are cheap. Half price, everything. The whole lot. We’re into extra time now and this game is going to the wire. Chris turns to me, with a look that says ‘I have a really, really good idea’.

If Spain get this, I’m straight off to Temple Bar”.

They get it. 1 nil, and the anti-football of the Dutch has lost. We’re off, straight out the door towards Temple Bar. A small-scale Saint Patrick’s Day for Spaniards has kicked off from the bottom of Grafton Street, moving towards Temple Bar in drunken ecstacy . By the time we get to the fountain by College Green, it’s pure madness. We’re dancing around the thing, singing songs we don’t even understand. Brian, one of the lads who finds himself in the company of the drunken Spaniards, has to collect his car and can’t drink. This must have been a sight to sober eyes. Vuvuzelas and fountains come together, girls (and boys) get IN the thing, and Gardai look on and smile.

We stuff our face at Ray’s (Dublin’s best pizza, anyone who says otherwise is wrong) and head for Westmoreland Street and the bus home. BUT WAIT. It’s a woman with what look like vouchers for something. Something free perhaps. ALL IN.

We’re now in the doorway of what we know as Doran’s. It’s bizarre, the place is completely unrecognisable. The walls are decorated with bizarre Irish stuff, ranging from a Land War poster to a copy of the 1916 Proclamation, and loads of Guinness malarky. They’ve essentially tried to create a ‘traditional pub’ (whatever that is) out of nothing. What better way to compliment that than a bizarre 1980’s themed club?

Down the stairs and we’re into Madonna’s. Pints are ordered, and free shots handed over.

“Here, fill that up” says Simon, not responding well to a half empty plastic shot glass. You’d wonder why he asked, we’re essentially drinking Calpol. I’ve ordered a pint of Guinness, and when it returns I’m asked to fork over €5.50 for it. Brian is still taking in the things only a truly sober eye can notice, like the decor of the place. “You know anywhere with a carpeted floor is going to be classy”. Good observation that, take note.

If you’ve played Grand Theft Auto Vice City, this IS that nightclub.

When playing Vice City, this is when I take out my rocket launcher.

They’re playing Never Gonna Give You Up, and it’s not even closing time. Now they’re playing Michael Jackson. Girls Just Wanna Have Fun is next. The place has a sort of disco look to it, and a general sort of ‘bit of a laugh’ vibe off it. It’s a long, long way from what was here before it however, and feels about as genuine as the ‘traditional’ pub they’ve put upstairs. Everyone here seems to be a tourist, which says it all really. It’s sure to make enough money to survive in Temple Bar, but does Temple Bar need an eighties bar? Most of the kips in the area don’t look like they’ve changed much since then anyway.

I look forward to seeing what this is turned into next month. Still, what a night. I wouldn’t have changed a single thing.

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Writing a piece on the modern disappearance of Liberty Lane, got me thinking about other streets and alleys in Dublin that have since changed beyond recognition.

For hundreds of years, it was possible for Dubliners to cross from College Green to Fleet Street via Turnstile Lane and Alley.

The map below, kindly reproduced with Pat Liddy’s permission, shows in the bottom left side how this was possible.

Temple Bar, 1760s. 'Temple Bar - Dublin. An Illustrated History', Pat Liddy, (Dublin, 1992), p. 32

In the 1780s, Turnstile Lane was widened considerably and renamed Fosters Place after John Foster (1740 – 1828), the last speaker of the Irish House of Commons. Turnstile Alley was renamed Parliament Row c. 1775. A narrow alleyway still linked the two but this was finally closed in 1928 due to the construction of the Bank Armoury.

Parliament Row today. Nothing more than a Car Park entrance and a bottle bank.

The Irishman’s Diary in The Irish Times on May 30, 1928 noted that “the closing of the passage at the ‘back of the bank’ … is causing much inconvenience to the many busy people who found it a short cut”.

Another view of the modern Parliament Row.

The modern map of Temple Bar below illustrates just how much has changed not least the blocking off of Turnstile Lane and Alley.  The cobbled Fosters Place is now most familiar to Dubliners for its Starbucks, taxi rank and new Wax Museum while Parliament Row has nothing much to boast for except a Car Park entrance and bottle bank.

Temple Bar, 1990s. 'Temple Bar - Dublin. An Illustrated History', Pat Liddy, (Dublin, 1992), p. 67

Fosters Place today. The road that swings right used to once lead to Fleet Street.


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Spotted in the window of The Alamo, Temple Bar.

Bargain.

A pity really, as The Alamo is home to the deep friend ice-cream special. No, really. Apparently it’s lovely too.

This sign got me thinking about the average cost of a pint around the city. The Hop House, at €4, is probably the most reasonable you can expect in a Dublin city centre pub. I think we’ve only beaten that once or twice on pub crawls, with Neds coming to mind as being a bit cheaper. It’s also an early house. One nil.

Advertising a pint that’s dearer than the average pint in the city seems bizarre to me. This isn’t any worse a price than many other pubs, but it’s unusual to see it stuck in the window. The last pub I remember sticking the cost of a pint in the window was a J.D Wetherspoon in Derry, and they nearly pay you to drink.

So, drop in for the ice-cream, but stick to the tap water.

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This plaque, marking the old home of the Medical School of ‘The Catholic University of Ireland’, illustrates perfectly to me the fact one can literally walk past history every day and not notice. The plaque is located at the side entrance to Urban Outfitters on Cecilia Street, Temple Bar.

The Irish Times of May 30 1930 noted that

The building was originally a theatre, in fact, the principal one in Dublin during the mid-eighteenth century, and, curiously enough, was once used in 1754 for an exhibition of anatomical waxworks, now preserved in Trinity College

Catholic University of Ireland

So, there you go. Always look up, and always look closely.

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