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Dublin’s Victorian fruit and vegetable market finally to reopen

The city’s newest food market will be better than the English Market in Cork, says city chief Richard Shakespeare

Redevelopment of Dublin’s Victorian fruit and vegetable market is finally to go ahead at a cost of €25 million, five years after its closure, city council chief executive Richard Shakespeare has confirmed.

The revamped retail food market and restaurant complex will reopen in just over two years’ time, following an extensive refurbishment and fit-out programme, Mr Shakespeare said.

“We are about to go out to tender for construction in the next three to four weeks, and in a similar time frame we will be looking for an operator. We reckon it will open in autumn 2026,” he said.

The new market will host a range of food producers with a “quintessentially Dublin” focus, Mr Shakespeare said.


“That isn’t just Irish stew; it should reflect the business and restaurant environment in the city, and reflect a modern Ireland.”

There will also be restaurants to ensure the market remains active into the evening.

“We want it to be a space that operates 10 in the morning to 10 at night,” he said.

“We want this to add to the vibrancy and vitality of the city. It will be the next piece in the chain to link O’Connell Street, Henry Street, Mary Street, Abbey Street and Capel Street to the markets, then over to Smithfield.”

The redevelopment of the market on Mary’s Lane, first proposed by the council in 2002, has been “painfully slow, I’ll take some of the blame for that”, said Mr Shakespeare, who was the council’s head of planning at the time of the market’s closure in 2019. He now expects rapid progress in the project.

“We’ll be far better than [the English Market in] Cork once we get going, but things take a while to get to a point where you pull the trigger. Then when you pull the trigger it happens very quickly,” he said.

On the southside of the inner city the council expects to spend €12 million to €15 million on stabilisation works on the derelict Iveagh Market, Mr Shakespeare said, including €9 million in central Government funding.

However, legal actions over its ownership, involving Temple Bar hotelier and publican Martin Keane, Lord Iveagh (Arthur Edward Rory Guinness) and the council, are ongoing and there is no guarantee the council will own the building after it has completed the essential safety works in two years’ time.

“It is a civic building, whether we own it or someone else, it’s part of our cultural heritage and we can’t sit idly by playing chicken with whoever that prospective owner might be,” Mr Shakespeare said.

Work to remove vegetation and loose materials should be completed within the next two months, with a contract for structural stabilisation works due to be issued in the autumn, he said.

“All this is just stabilisation. It will not deliver functioning buildings, it is just to stop it completely falling over, but it will give it a good platform for the next phase of the development,” he said.

“Given that it’s the subject of numerous court cases, we’ll just have to wait and see what happens next.”

Olivia Kelly

Olivia Kelly

Olivia Kelly is Dublin Editor of The Irish Times