As promised, today was my tour of the Temple Bar District. I was anxious to get it over with, and since I was running on about four hours of sleep, I was anxious to see if I would actually be able to walk and talk at the same time.
The tour started at noon, but because we’re assimilating so well into Irish culture and because everyone else had gotten the same amount of sleep as me, everyone missed the train and didn’t get to Temple Bar until 12:30. Luckily it wasn’t nearly as cold out today, so I got some extra time to look over my notes and figure out any last minute variations to my plan.
The tour started in Temple Bar Square with the history of the area (which officially dates back to 1673) and an overview of its role as a cultural center in Dublin. We then made our way around and throughout the district with stops at The Oliver St. John Gogarty, Blooms Hotel, The Central Bank of Ireland, The Olympia Theatre, Project Arts Centre, National Photo Gallery, Meeting House Square, The Irish Film Institute, The Button Factory, various restaurants, bars, and clubs, and of course The Temple Bar.
My personal favorite part of the tour was the National Photo Gallery and Meeting House Square. The Gallery holds the largest collection of Irish photographs in the world (over 630,000 prints and negatives), and currently has a fabulous exhibit going called Power & Privilege, which looks at the upper class of Ireland at the turn of the 20th century. Meeting House Square is just outside the gallery, and has food markets every weekend, including today. Looking around at the photos and wandering through a magnificent street vendor food bazaar was a great way to break up the tour, and enjoy a Nutella and banana crêpe for under €3. According to the rest of the group, it was also a great place for spring rolls, broccoli quiche, tacos, lamb kebabs, olives, brats, and horse meat skewers. Seabiscut aside, Meeting House Square may become a regular Saturday trip.
Overall, I’m happy with how my tour went, and I got a lot of positive feedback from the group, which was really nice and reassuring. If all else fails in my life, at least I know I’ll have something to fall back on.
After the tour, we came back home and spent the day doing literally nothing aside from laundry and reading. It was a long week, and we were tired. Additionally, we’re leaving at 6:45 tomorrow morning to go to Galway. Can’t wait!