Temple Bar

Temple Bar information

Lonely Planet review

Many a wild night has been had within the cobbled precincts of Temple Bar, Dublin's most visited neighbourhood, a maze of streets and alleys sandwiched between Dame St and the Liffey, running from Trinity College to Christ Church Cathedral. But it's not all booze and infamy: you can browse for vintage clothes, check out the latest art installations, get your nipples pierced and nibble on Mongolian barbecue. In good weather you can watch outdoor movies in one square or join in a pulsating drum circle in another – just another slice of life in the city's most popular neighbourhood.

During the day and on weekday nights Temple Bar does have something of a bohemian bent about it – if you ignore the crappy tourist shops and dreadful restaurants serving bland, overpriced food – but at weekends, when the party really gets going, it can get very sloppy. The huge, characterless bars crank up the sounds and throw their doors open to the tens of thousands of punters looking to drink and score like the end of the world is nigh. By 3am, the only culture on display is in the pools of vomit and urine that give the whole area the aroma of a sewer – welcome to Temple Barf.

Temple Bar Information Centre publishes the TASCQ cultural guide to Temple Bar, which gives information on attractions and restaurants in the area. It's available from the information centre or at businesses around Temple Bar. It's best to check the websites for details of events.

Meeting House Square is one of the real success stories of Temple Bar. On one side is the excellent Gallery of Photography , hosting temporary exhibitions of contemporary local and international photographers. Staying with the photography theme, the other side of the square is home to the National Photographic Archive , a magnificent resource for anyone interested in a photographic history of Ireland. On Saturdays it hosts a popular food market .

At the western end of Temple Bar, in the shadow of Christ Church Cathedral, is Fishamble Street , the oldest street in Dublin. It dates back to Viking times – not that you'd know that to see it now.

On Parliament St, which runs south from the river to the City Hall and Dublin Castle, the Sunlight Chambers beside the river has a beautiful frieze around its facade. Sunlight was a brand of soap manufactured by the Lever Brothers, who were responsible for the late-19th-century building. The frieze shows the Lever Brothers' view of the world: men make clothes dirty, women wash them!

To the east, buildings on interesting Eustace Street include the 1715 Presbyterian Meeting House, now theArk , an excellent children's cultural centre. The Dublin branch of the Society of United Irishmen, who sought Parliamentary reform and equality for Catholics, was first convened in 1791 in the Eagle Tavern, now the Friends' Meeting House .

(This should not be confused with the other Eagle Tavern, which is on Cork St.) Merchant's Arch leads to the Ha'penny Bridge , named after the ha'penny (half-penny) toll once needed to cross. The Stock Exchange is on Anglesea St, in a building dating from 1878.