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The Merchants Arch -  Temple Bar Dublin


Temple Bar Dublin

Dublin's Guilded Past 

In the heart of Dublin, where the River Liffey weaves its course, stands the remarkable Merchants Arch, an architectural gem that not only bridges the gap between past and present but also holds a treasure trove of historical significance. The National Inventory of Historic Architecture (NIHA) recognizes it as the most important building on Wellington Quay, and it bears witness to centuries of Dublin's storied history. 

A Masterpiece by Frederick Darley 

This splendid archway runs through a magnificent early 19th-century building designed by the prominent architect Frederick Darley. Darley hailed from a renowned Dublin family of stone-cutters and masons, famous for their work at the granite quarries near Golden Hill, Ballyknocken. Constructed in 1828, this building originally served as a hall for the Merchants Guild of Dublin. Darley's architectural prowess is evident in the building's elegant design and meticulous craftsmanship. 

The Merchants Arch - Temple Bar

Guardian of The Guilds

The Merchants Arch and its associated building are invaluable relics of Dublin's guild system, which once held sway over the city's economics and politics. This medieval institution, common across Europe, dates back to the early Middle Ages. Guilds played a multifaceted role, controlling access to various trades and professions, regulating standards, education, and training. 

Each guild had its patron saint and maintained a presence in a church, often with their shrine or chapel. They were also actively involved in charity work and artistic patronage, funding artworks in churches and chapels. In some instances, wealthier guilds even financed the construction of entire buildings, a tradition reflected in the grandeur of the Merchants Arch Building.

Dublin's Guild Hierarchy 

In medieval Dublin, there were between twenty and twenty-five guilds, with a slight fluctuation in numbers over the centuries. These guilds adhered to a ranking system, with the Guild of Merchants positioned at the apex, followed by others such as the tailors. The ranking primarily symbolized prestige, except for the Merchants, who held significant power. They controlled over 25 seats on Dublin's municipal government, the Corporation, and furnished key office holders, including the mayor. 

Dublin's guilds also engaged in cultural and religious activities. They organized pageants and religious plays, often cantered around the feast day of Corpus Christi in June, decorating floats with religious themes, featuring their respective saints. 

Guild Halls and Their Significance 

Guild halls, like the Merchant's Arch Building, served various secular purposes, including meetings, assemblies, feasts, and exhibitions. Not every guild owned a dedicated hall or building; some rented premises for many years or shared spaces with others. Nevertheless, the wealthier guilds like the Merchants and the Merchant-Tailors typically owned their premises. 

End of an Era 

Remarkably, the guilds' era of political dominance endured until 1840 in Britain and Ireland. However, the winds of change swept away centuries of rights, privileges, and prerogatives around 1841, following the enactment of the political reform act the previous year. 

The Merchants Guild may not have occupied the Wellington Quay building for an extended period, but their influence left an indelible mark. The ebb and flow of guilds and other historic Dublin institutions are a testament to the city's ever-evolving character during medieval and early modern times. 

As you stroll through the Merchants Arch today, you're not just traversing a physical space; you're embarking on a journey through Dublin's guilded past. This arch, a harmonious blend of history and architecture, continues to stand as a beacon of the city's rich heritage, inviting all who pass through to explore its remarkable history.

Restaurant - Bar - Live Music Venue 

The Merchants Arch Bar & Restaurant - Temple Bar Dublin

When it comes to a memorable dining and entertainment experience in Dublin, look no further than Merchants Arch Bar & Restaurant. Our iconic establishment offers a diverse range of services that cater to locals and tourists alike, making it a must-visit destination for all food, drinks, and entertainment enthusiasts.

Temple Bar Restaurants

The Merchants Arch boasts Culinary Delights: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner, 7 Days a Week.    The culinary journey begins with a diverse breakfast menu that spans to midday. Whether you're an early riser or prefer a leisurely dinner, you are sure to find something to tantalize your taste buds.   Next up it's our fantastic all day menu; from lite bites and salads to steaks & the finest fish dishes we have something for all.  

Great Beer Selection and Guinness Expertise

Dublin is renowned for its pub culture, and Merchants Arch continues this tradition with pride. The bar offers a great selection of pints, including some of the finest local and international brews. However, it's our Guinness that truly stands out. Regulars and newcomers alike agree that Merchants Arch serves one of the best pints of Guinness in the city, making it a must-visit for beer enthusiasts.

A Whiskey Lover's Paradise and Creative Cocktails

For those who appreciate a well-crafted drink, Merchants Arch is a paradise.  Our Bar has one of the city's best whiskey collections, showcasing a range of Irish and international brands. Whether you're a seasoned whiskey connoisseur or new to the world of spirits, the knowledgeable staff can guide you to the perfect pour.

If cocktails are more your style, prepare to be dazzled by the fantastic cocktail menu. Talented mixologists craft creative concoctions that are as visually stunning as they are delicious. From classic favorites to innovative new creations, there's something to suit every palate.

The Murphy Sisters - The Merchants Arch Bar & Restaurant - Live Music in Temple Bar Dublin

Live Music - 7 Days a Week - Late Bars Dublin

Music lovers are in for a treat at Merchants Arch. The Merchants hosts live music performances seven days a week, featuring some of Dublin's most talented emerging artists. Whether you enjoy folk, rock, blues, or contemporary tunes, you can immerse yourself in the vibrant sounds of Dublin's music scene.  As late Bars Dublin go, our Venue is one of the Best keeping our guests entertained to the early hours, guaranteeing all a Great Night.


Temple Bar Dublin - Late bars Dublin

Temple Bar is a vibrant cultural and entertainment district located in the heart of Dublin, Ireland. It has a rich history that spans several centuries and has transformed from a historic area into a thriving cultural hub. Here's a brief overview of the history of Temple Bar: 

  • Medieval Origins: Temple Bar's history can be traced back to the medieval period when it was part of the city's medieval district. The area was named after the Temple family, who owned the land in the 17th century. 

  • 17th Century: In the 17th century, Sir William Temple, a renowned Anglo-Irish statesman, built his home and gardens in the area. It was during this time that the district became known as Temple Bar. The Temple family's residence no longer exists, but the name remained. 

  • Cultural Transformation: In the late 20th century, Temple Bar Dublin underwent a significant transformation. It evolved from a neglected area into a cultural quarter, thanks to the efforts of artists, activists, and local authorities. Abandoned warehouses and dilapidated buildings were repurposed into galleries, studios, theatre's, and cultural centres. 

  • Cultural Revival: Temple Bar became synonymous with the revitalization of Irish culture. It attracted artists, writers, musicians, and creative individuals, fostering a vibrant and eclectic arts scene. The Temple Bar Cultural Trust played a crucial role in these developments, promoting artistic and cultural activities. 

  • Temple Bar Today: Today, Temple Bar is known for its colourful streets, lively atmosphere, and numerous cultural attractions. It boasts a range of galleries, theatres, music venues, and street art installations. The district is also home to the Irish Film Institute and the Temple Bar Gallery + Studios. 

  • Entertainment and Nightlife: Temple Bar is famous for its lively nightlife. It features numerous pubs, bars, and restaurants that cater to a diverse crowd. It's a popular destination for both locals and tourists looking for a good time, especially on weekends when the area comes alive with music and entertainment. 

  • Temple Bar Square: The central square in Temple Bar is a hub of activity. It often hosts outdoor events, markets, and festivals. The square is surrounded by a mix of historic and modern buildings, creating a unique urban atmosphere. 

  • Festivals and Events: Temple Bar Dublin hosts various festivals and events throughout the year, celebrating everything from literature and music to food and art. The Temple Bar Trad Fest, for example, is a renowned traditional music festival that draws artists and visitors from around the world. 

  • Tourist Attraction: Temple Bar Dublin is one of the cities major tourist attractions. Its vibrant streets, cultural offerings, and central location make it a must-visit destination for tourists exploring the city. 

In summary, Temple Bar Dublin has evolved from its medieval roots into a thriving cultural and entertainment district that celebrates the arts, music, and creativity. It's a testament to Dublin's ability to blend its rich history with a dynamic and contemporary cultural scene. 

For more details on the Merchants Arch or to make a booking email us today.

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