Living city or living hell?
Deaglán de Bréadún
Judging from my colleague Frank McDonald’s article in yesterday’s Irish Times, Temple Bar in Dublin is a living hell for local residents, at least at night. Many readers will identify with McDonald’s cri de coeur, whether they live in the city centre as he does or in what used to be quiet suburbia.
Will someone remind me what Temple Bar was supposed to be in the first place? I have a hazy recollection of a vision for a Dublin “Left Bank” where our cultural flowering would be on display to native and foreigner alike. Charlie Haughey had a hand in it and presumably intended it to be a showcase for visitors.
Somehow it doesn’t seem to have worked out like that. I go there at night sometimes to see a movie at the IFI or, less often, to have a meal at a restaurant. The words “tourist trap” tend to form in my mind. One night I went to a place where some Irish music was playing, so that a foreign visitor to our home could get a taste of our culture. The standard of performance left a good deal to be desired in my opinion.
On one memorable occasion I had to drive past Parliament Street at 5 a.m. on a Sunday morning to collect someone from a night shift and a young man was amusing himself by daring the cars to knock him down. The John Boorman film The Tiger’s Tail presented a very negative and depressing picture of Temple Bar which I hope was exaggerated.
Green Party leader and Environment Minister John Gormley has put the issue of noise from neighbours or entertainment outlets on the political agenda. It is not an easy problem to deal with and there is some scepticism about Gormley’s initiative, but it’s good that the discussion has at least started.
I think I would rather sleep under a bridge somewhere than put up with what Frank McDonald describes in The Irish Times. From what he has to say and from other information it would appear there is very little of any real practical value that the ordinary citizen can do, if a neighbour or nightclub in the vicinity decides to play loud music late into the night.
Deaglán de Bréadún, Political Correspondent, The Irish Times