Creativity and Ingenuity Re-Invigorate Temple Bar

By Amy Lewis and Sarah Lavelle

Dublin is known to be an expensive city.  Finding cheap things to do can prove difficult.  We searched our city’s bustling streets and discovered two hidden gems that are innovative and interesting, yet affordable.

The front window of Exchange Dublin in Temple Bar

Exchange Dublin in Temple Bar is a non-profit collective arts centre that holds no restrictions.  It aims to encourage creative new ideas and to dissolve racial, age and class boundaries in our society.   From gigs to lectures, exhibitions to storytelling, the range of activities available at The Exchange is endless.

The centre has proved extremely popular during the recession as all events and workshops are free.  It is completely run by volunteers of all ages. Exchange is funded by Dublin City Council, the Arts Council and many generous donations.

“Exchange was set up during the Celtic Tiger as a reaction to consumerism,” says Tom, a dedicated volunteer at Exchange. “It is a non-alcoholic, all-ages space where people can sit and share their thoughts for free.”

The current most popular event here is Milk and Cookie Stories.  Since its establishment, this group has become the most popular storytelling group in Dublin.  It takes place on the second Tuesday of every month.  “It’s so popular.  We always manage to fill the building,” Tom tells us.  Knowledge Exchange is another interesting concept that has been launched recently.   It aims to give people the opportunity to broaden their fields of knowledge by offering free lectures to the public each Sunday.

Anybody can come to Exchange with suggestions.  The volunteers are open to all ideas. “Everybody has their own dreams and ideas,” says Tom, “Exchange exists to help them become a reality” .

'Tweetseats' at Crackbird in Temple Bar

Crackbird on Crane Street in Temple Bar is a small pop-up restaurant where you are sure to find value for money.

The restaurant has only a twelve-week lease and will be closing its doors on May 22nd.  Though employees tell us that the restaurant will definitely not stay open, they tell us it has been busy every night.  Prices are affordable with a whole skillet fried buttermilk chicken for two going for €17.95.

However, it is the restaurant’s #tweetseats which are attracting customers from all around the city.  For members of Twitter, you can request a booking for between 2 and 8 people for a time and date of your choice on @crackBIRDdublin.  If there is availability, the chicken is free to eat.

Employees at Crackbird tell us that the #tweetseats “have attracted loads of attention.  A lot of people have found out about us from online.”

It‘s a shame that the restaurant will be so short-lived, but the idea behind this was to create a more exciting atmosphere.  “It is more exciting being a pop-up restaurant because people will know they have to come before May 22nd.” This clever business tactic proves to have been a success as the restaurant is now a cheap hotspot in the city.

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