In danger of being razed in the 1980s to become a bus depot, Temple Bar, on the south bank of the River Liffey, went from rags to riches, becoming Dublin’s cultural hub. The Irish Film Institute and Photography centre are found there along with trendy clothes shops, galleries and bars and restaurants. It also hosts the yearly ‘Temple Bar Tradfest’, a musical festival where you can listen to the very best of both traditional and new wave Irish music and it includes activities, such as costume parades, for the kids.
Live music is a vital part of Irish pub culture and for a good pint and great atmosphere, try The Porterhouse microbrewery (www.porterhousebrewco.com) or the Temple Bar Pub (www.thetemplebarpub.com). The Temple Bar-based Porterhouse is Ireland’s largest Irish owned brewery. If you’re looking for somewhere smart to try Irish cuisine, try the Eden restaurant (www.edenrestaurant.ie) while the Brick Alley Café in Fleet Street serves tasty snacks and fair-trade coffee.
Both low cost Ryanair (www.ryanair.com) and Aer Lingus (www.aerlingus.com) fly to Dublin from a number of UK and European destinations, and word has it that there are some very good deals on hotels around at the moment. So why not book a cheap flight and take a weekend break in the Irish capital.