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More bang for your buck

The Times We Lived In Published: August 22nd 1970. Photograph: Tommy Collins

The Pansy Market, Montague Street, between Camden Street and Harcourt Street, Dublin. 1970 Photograph: Tommy Collins

“They’re only for decoration?  Ah, you just haven’t got the bang of them yet, mister . . .” 

 Outdoor markets have been part of the Dublin scene for more years than even auld Mr Brennan would care to remember. 

 In 1906 the Iveagh Markets were built when the slum clearance of the Bride Street area was initiated by Edward Guinness, the first Lord Iveagh. A godsend for many locals trying to feed and clothe themselves and their families cheaply, they were run by Dublin Corporation.

 It was a very different kettle of fish to our contemporary idea of an outdoor market. Organic artichokes? No. Wheat-free curry? No. Disinfecting chamber? Yes.

  Our photo today recalls a more recent inner-city exchange. “The Pansy Market on Montague Street between Camden Street and Harcourt Street, which opened recently,” reads the caption. “Two young Dubliners at a fine art stall admire two brass cannons.”

 It’s a modest enough consignment of collectibles

The photographer has caught the energy which ricochets between the boys, the miniature cannons and the stallholder: the still image fairly ripples with it.

 He has also placed us viewers in pole position to have a good gawk at the merchandise on offer – which is, after all, the whole point of a market stall. It’s a modest enough consignment of collectibles. A couple of pairs of candlesticks, a pair of hunting horns, some letter-openers,a pair of brass racing horses and a decanter and glasses which, frankly, don’t look very “fine art” at all.

  What about those vases, though? Now that any ordinary-looking Chinese vase is likely to sell for a couple of hundred thousand, they might be worth a longer, and much closer, look. 

 But whatever bargains might or might not be available at the stall, the lads are absolutely priceless.

These and other Irish Times images can be purchased from: irishtimes.com/photosales. A book, The Times We Lived In, with more than 100 photographs and commentary by Arminta Wallace, published by Irish Times Books, is available from irishtimes.com and from bookshops, €19.99.