| 24.1°C Dublin

Only culture you'll find in Temple Bar is a rip-off one

A few days ago, in response to a question on the McDonalds official twitter account as to why their Smarties McFlurry cost more in its Temple Bar outlet than it does a few hundred yards away on Jervis Street, the customer got the following, unusually honest reply: "Hi, the pricing does range on the location in regards to a business plan. The more tourists in the area, the higher the price."

While the now disbanded Temple Bar Trust had tried to stop the arrival of McDonalds on the basis that it would bring down the tone of the neighbourhood, the reality is quite the opposite - McDonalds is perfectly in sync with the area, both in terms of its cultural heritage, and its attitude to tourists.

It may seem like an extraordinary admission, that businesses should actively try to rip-off tourists, but it's a phenomenon that comes as no surprise to anyone who visits the area that is absurdly referred to as "Dublin's cultural quarter".

Because the truth about the area is that, despite the valiant efforts of the Irish Film Centre and the occasional open air movie screening in Meeting House Square, its infestation of fast-food restaurants, late night bars, and stumbling, vomiting drunks makes Temple Bar the Magaluf of Ireland.

Dubliners have been raging on social media for years about the scandalous prices being charged for basic commodities in Temple Bar, particularly by its most popular pubs.

QUIZZED

Last year, when quizzed by a newspaper about why a pint cost €7.15, a spokesperson for one Temple Bar pub replied that it is a popular tourist spot, adding knowingly that, "tourists rarely complain about the price".

Such comments are indicative of the attitude that tourists are "mugs", they don't know how much things cost, and are there to be ripped off.

And the only defence that these establishments offer is that other pubs nearby are doing exactly the same thing.

It's a reality that seems to have dawned on Failte Ireland, with its new chairman, Michael Cawley, remarking at the weekend that: "We need to clean up its image.

"Temple Bar, long an asset, has become less than an asset, shall we say. I don't want to be overly negative about it, but we need to do better."

It is significant that Cawley is the former deputy CEO of Ryanair, and the business model that he learned there is surely to be welcomed in his new position.

For too long the fleecing of tourists, by pubs and taxis in particular, has been considered a harmless pastime, with the tourist trap that is Temple Bar being the worst offender.

A no-nonsense, no frills, Ryanair-type approach to dealing with tourists is just what the city needs.


Privacy