Temple Bar, Dublin – the best night out EVER?

TB Temple Bar, Dublin – the best night out EVER? Kim Wright battleface.com
Approx read: 4 mins

Cram all the vibrancy of Dublin – pubs with lively Irish music, art galleries, street buskers, great restaurants, Guinness and a cracking atmosphere – into a few electrifying blocks, and what do you get?

Welcome to the Temple Bar district.

Guinness, glory, and a reunion that rocked

Ahh… Dublin in late January. The cold air cracks with a rawness that demands a good layer of clothing – NOT! Because the first thing I did was dump my overcoat and hand luggage in a hotel room and sprint to a meeting point at a bus stop on the Quay.

Months of ‘should-have-called-sooner’ guilt dissolve into the damp Dublin air after the first man-hug is done. This weekend’s all about a reunion with one of my best friends. A fun-fuelled odyssey that’s long overdue; and where else to reignite this long-distance friendship than cradled in the joie de vivre of Temple Bar – the undisputed king of Dublin nightlife.

pints Temple Bar, Dublin – the best night out EVER? Kim Wright battleface.com

The rules for black custard and craving midnight chips

Don’t be funny about what to drink in Temple Bar. You’re there for the Guinness. Embrace it and move on. If you’re a socially-tuned animal, then you’ll swiftly acquire a relationship with one of the skilled bar staff – they’ll know what you need from a mere nod and get to work. A tilted glass is filled rapidly to a halfway point wherein nitrogen bubbles awaken and erupt. The glass is left – never forgotten – until the elixir settles before its topped off for a finish. A dark pint with a creamy hat awaits your attention. The barman nods. You pay, then tip generously, because providence is an Irish thing, and you’re feeling good on this cold Dublin night.

Though you raise your glass to acknowledge other patrons, you’ve learnt the right way to consume black custard. Ditch the guzzle because Guinness is a classic slow burn. Sip it, savour the notes of coffee, chocolate, and all that hoppy goodness. Sláinte.

And the midnight chips? They’re a tradition to farewell the drinking. What else do you need in the wee hours of the morning when the restaurants are shuttered, and your bed is calling? Chips man, chips! Maybe double portions, please.

TradFest24 – let the good times roll

Before you get to thinking that our journey was just another pub crawl, the weekend coincided with Trad24, an annual Dublin institution that transforms the entire city into a sprawling, bodhrán-thumping celebration of Irish folk music. And those Irish tunes are more than just pub singalongs, they’re the heart of Irish identity, a soundtrack for life’s ups and downs.

From foot-stomping reels to tear-jerking ballads, Trad24 is a brilliant initiative that keeps traditions alive, connects generations, and throws a subtle peace sign to visitors that want to join in. Temple Bar became our ground zero – a chaotic wonderland where every pub morphed into a mini-concert hall, but with Guinness on tap. We kicked-off our Friday eve at the famous namesake of this section of Dublin – the first, the famous, the raucous Temple Bar Pub.

crowd Temple Bar, Dublin – the best night out EVER? Kim Wright battleface.com

From the Temple Bar Pub to Darkey Kelly’s & everywhere else

Push your way in through a Temple Bar pub door…. Tourist? Maybe. But the Guinness isn’t the only thing with a kick. This place is alive – real craic, genuine smiles. You’re in.

Just as that door slams, you’re sucker punched by the noise. A singer is belting out his song. It’s a voice at war, battling the fiddler and drummer and everyone else in the room. The air vibrates with the cheers and chatter of a room full of thirsty souls, each conversation a shout competing for dominance. Glasses chime a discordant counterpoint, and the smell of spilled Guinness hangs heavy. It’s sensory overload, but the kind that kicks your heart into a happy jig. You smile broadly, and you can’t help it – this is the emerald heart of the pub, messy, glorious, and impossible to resist.

The Porterhouse, Darkey Kelly’s, the Ha’penney Bridge Inn, the Turk’s Head, the Quays Bar, Bad Bobs and the Auld Dubliner. We did’em all, and not one was the same.  Each pub offered up its unique flavour – some lively and boisterous, others intimate and soulful. But throughout Temple Bar the spirit of Trad 24 resonated. Young and old, locals and tourists, seemed united by the infectious rhythm of music and fun.

Of pints, pilgrims and legends

More pints slammed up and down. New friends and old were toasted and our voices became ragged from belting out rebel anthems we pretended to know. As the night drew on and the crowds thinned, bartenders, with Dublin-lives etched on their faces, dished out stories of legends and dreamers who haunted the stages or sat at their bar.

“So is this your first time to Dublin?” they asked. “Tourists? Us? Nah, we’re pilgrims on a quest. This is where we belong.”

The soul of Dublin

Sure, Temple Bar might be a tourist magnet, but that’s just a testament to its undeniable charm. It’s Dublin laid bare. It’s the city’s heart on a worn leather sleeve, its everything and everyone ready for a good time, song and laughter. In these few blocks strangers become friends over shared pints in cramped spaces, where a reunion weekend transforms into memories that’ll stay with you long after the last call echoes through the cobbled streets.

So, is there any meaning to take away from this story of this weekend reunion in Ireland? Absolutely! If your heart ever needs the uplift of a musical adventure, head straight for the beating heart of Dublin – Temple Bar. We did, and we’ll be back. Hurry up Trad25.

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