Dublin is home to hundreds of pubs, each with something different to offer. When people come here, they usually have an idea in their mind of exactly what they want – traditional Irish music, good Guinness and chatting to the locals. Generally, they all have heard about the same place and naturally gravitate there with the notion of having a truly great, authentic night out. That place is Temple Bar. I’m here to tell you different.
Depending on how much you have researched, you will either think of Temple Bar as one pub or as an area; it’s both. The Temple Bar district was updated in the 90s with the aim of it becoming the cultural centre of the city – home to restaurants, bars and clubs that define the Irish experience. In one way, they achieved this goal. Temple Bar was the buzz of the city for both Irish and tourists alike. However, as the years progressed, Temple Bar evolved into a different type of beast. Noticing that tourists, in particular, were willing to pay anything to have the “Irish experience”, prices started to slowly increase. At first, not even the locals noticed too much, but over the years, it got a bit too much.
These days, you’d be hard-pressed trying to find a local Dubliner in the Temple Bar district. Instead, we’ve gone back to the tradition of having our own local bars. Unlike the almost frantically busy pubs in Temple Bar, local pubs offer more of a personal touch at far more reasonable prices. We all have our own preferred bars that we can go to any night of the week, chat with the barmen, with other locals and the odd strays that come in and are instantly felt welcome – and that’s where the Irish touch becomes prevalent.
We Irish are commonly associated with being a friendly, out-going bunch who can talk to a stranger for hours. This is not an image that is supported in Temple Bar. There, people are seen as faceless ATM machines who are willing to pay over €6.50 for a pint of Guinness – a price so unreasonable that I can’t begin to fathom it. And instead of getting the usual Irish banter and craic, you are treated as a way to make more money for the pub. This is something that needs to change.
So, when you get to Isaacs Hostel or Jacobs Inn, ask us at the desk for advice. There’s no better advice than that coming from locals – we all know bars, drink and prices, and we want you all to have the best possible time when you get here. We want you to leave with a fair opinion of Dublin and Ireland. And, most importantly, we don’t want you to leave with empty pockets. If we can give you the best possible night at half the cost of Temple Bar, we will – it’s what we’re here for.
So, let’s throw off the shackles of the reputation Temple Bar has, and go back to the roots of this country – local guys and girls in the pubs where our parents drank, having the time of our lives. Because it’s the people that make the place, not the other way around.