So what was I doing in Temple Bar anyway?
Well, last Saturday I finished work in Ouzos Dalkey and stopped to pick up the Sunday morning papers on my way home. There it was, the photo I had being hearing about all week. I never got to see because it had been deleted from Twitter as soon as it had been posted. Two Chefs, a meat cleaver and a food critics head held by the hair (photo shopped of course). I’m still tying to figure out why the critic would first claim to be so hurt by this photo and then have it published on page 1 and then an even larger version on page 5 of her national newspaper? Don’t make any sense to me? The only comment I have to make on this latest episode is, if you are going to be a food critic and criticize others, you should first learn to take criticism of yourself and do it gracefully.
So it’s Monday, 8pm and myself and my wife are on our way to try this new restaurant in Temple Bar. As we turn at Christ Church down Dame Street there is a Garda standing on the left, radar gun in hand. Luckily we had a line of traffic in front of us. The speed limit is 30kph in the city and it is policed so no messing in the city on the speeding front.
We parked in the multistory car park in Temple Bar and emerged into the middle of this bustling tourist hot-spot. The first 50 steps were fantastic, the music coming from the pubs and lots of happy faces, the place was hopping. A little further down the street, opposite the Elephant & Castle everything changed. Two hard faced individuals standing in the middle of the footpath drinking cans of beer while their mate urinated against the wall in full view for all to see. We walked around them being carful to avoid the urine now making its way across the footpath and on to the road.
As we walked on I advised me wife to put her IPhone in her pocked for fear of being robbed. We walked past the Square and witnessed countless junkies in huddles and more hard faces drinking from cans while sat on the dirty ground. The streets were filthy and we felt seriously uncomfortable. As we continued we saw McDonald’s have opened where Frankie’s used to be. (We laughed later at the thought of Dublin City County Councilors complaining that McDonald’s would bring down the tone of the place.) I can honestly say I have never felt so uncomfortable in my home city and I was truly embarrassed to be Irish. I watched tourists look on in horror at the lawlessness of Ireland & Temple Bar. I can’t help but wonder if any of the tourists visiting Temple Bar will ever visit this country again, I wouldn’t!
Where in the World?
I have traveled to many countries and visited many cities in my 50 years and I can honestly say I have never witnessed such behavior. New York is a city vastly larger than Dublin and yet one can walk the streets of Manhattan and feel safe. The disgusting scenes we witnessed in Temple Bar would not be allowed to happen in New York.
So Who’s to Blame?
We could blame the Gardai for not cracking down on such behavior. There was no sign of the Gardai the night we were there. But lets face it, as a nation we do not protect our police force. It is common to have criminals walking the city with 100 previous convictions under their belts. Assaults on Gardai are common in Ireland and as a society we have done nothing to protect our protectors.
I blame the politicians; they control everything to do with policing and enforcement. If the politicians got behind the Gardai, reformed the legal system and built a prison system fit for purpose we would all reap the rewards. But sadly they don’t seem to care.
So my Advice….
Visit Oliver Dunne’s new restaurant in the Clarence. He is a nice guy, one of Ireland’s great chefs, the staff are lovely, the food is fab and it’s a fine new restaurant. But get a Taxi to the restaurant door and straight back home, avoid Temple Bar at all costs.
As for any tourists visiting Temple Bar, this area has been lost to the drunks and the junkies, so be careful you’re on our own….
Take the tie off and take your wife and family down to Temple Bar some night, have a look around and ask yourself; Would I want to bring my family on holidays to this godforsaken place? And then for god’s sake do something about it!