Temple Bar, one of Dublin’s oldest and busiest quarters, could be set to undergo a major revamp to bring it in line with some of the top cultural areas in Europe.

Temple Bar Traders who are now operating under the trading name of The Temple Bar Company are in talks with Dublin City Council to oversee a rejuvenation project in the prominent 28 acre area. Ideas for the project have been outlined in a report entitled - “Temple Bar Company: Supporting the quarter”, they detail a number of ways to make Temple Bar a better place leading up to 2020.

Temple Bar Traders, which was set up by the surrounding businesses ten years ago to assist with Temple Bar’s litter problem has, over the years, contributed an estimated €4m to the up keep of the area. Now the company, whose mission statement is “to promote the arts, tourism, trade and commerce in the Temple Bar area”, are hoping to boost the quarter’s cultural credentials by transforming it into a civic plaza on par with areas such as the Montmartre region in Paris. “The Montmartre region is a marker, we know it’s a high marker but we think it’s very achievable”, says Martin Harte, the companies managing director. “Our members have a desire to make Temple Bar more accessible, better, nicer. They want the area to be the best it can be, we feel it needs a little investment and hence we came up with this set of objectives”.

The 20 objectives published in the report range from plans to improve street landscape to the inclusion of ethnic and night markets. One of the plans that seem to have already gathered momentum is the redevelopment of the main Temple Bar Square, which would be renamed “Dubliner’s Square” after a collection of short stories set in the area by James Joyce. A statue honouring the Dublin born author and poet may also be included.

Professor Cathal O’Neill, an architect and a former professor in University College Dublin, has been brought in to provide expert assistance. He has come up with a new concept for the main square that would see its expansion along with the removal of the cobbles to create a piazza style area, one that is more pedestrian friendly. Martin Harte explained the idea behind it - “Temple Bar is confused at the moment, we’ve a lot of traffic, we’ve a lot of vehicles moving in and around even though it’s pedestrian, we feel that if the area was all on the one level then it is more inclusive and makes people a priority as opposed to cars”.

It has been over 22 years since Temple Bar underwent a large-scale renovation. In that time the area has become a popular spot for night time revellers, not to mention the odd stag or hen party.  It has an estimated annual net turnover of over €765m with much of that being generated by its busy nightlife. Harte emphasises that while the night life is still very important to Temple Bar, it is about creating comparable day time activity that appeals to everyone.

Permitted that agreements can be made with Dublin City Council, work on the rejuvenation project will begin next year with the project likely to be funded by a number of investors, including The Temple Bar Company and Dublin City Council. Next month Temple Bar will be hosting the TradFest, one of its largest annual traditional Irish music festivals.