The battle for Dublin’s soul: Are recent protests against hotels near cultural spaces a sign of things to come?

Developments at Merchant’s Arch in Temple Bar and The Cobble Stone in Smithfield have led to protests accusing the authorities of allowing Dublin’s heritage of being commodified. The capital has changed immeasurably in the last two decades but now, fears are growing that its culture is in danger.

Frank McDonald, author, journalist and environmentalist, at Merchant’s Arch in Temple Bar: ‘We’ve managed to fight a lot of the worst of it from happening over the years, but I think that the city is in more danger now than ever before.’ Picture: Fergal Phillips

When you spend an afternoon in the centre of Dublin with Frank McDonald, you start to see the city through his eyes.

Standing in Merchant’s Arch on a Monday afternoon, he begins to describe the scene that surrounds him. It doesn’t matter that he has walked through the Temple Bar laneway countless times, he has never grown numb to its beauty. In fact, he still revels in it.

“It’s our own little version of a ...