Dublin’s Victorian market closes after 127 years

Customers recall fruit and vegetable market in its heyday

Dublin's Victorian fruit and vegetable market on Mary’s Lane is closing its doors after operating for 127 years. Dublin City Council plans to convert the market, with the redevelopment expected to take at least two years. Video: Bryan O'Brien

 

Dublin’s Victorian fruit and vegetable market on Mary’s Lane will close down Friday after 127 years, to make way for a major redevelopment project.

The last remaining wholesale traders have been dismantling their pitches and removing stock to make way for a new market expected to be similar to continental style food markets with a range of producers including butchers, bakers, cheesemongers, fishmongers and greengrocers.

It is understood presentations have also been given in recent days to prominent Dublin restaurateurs with a view to the possible inclusions of cafes and restaurants, with a focus on local produce, in the newly revamped market.

Dublin City Council will shortly go to tender for the redevelopment of market, which is located between Capel Street and Smithfield close to the Four Courts. The project, which will involve refurbishment of the old market, is expected to take two years to complete.

Former customers have been visiting the old market ahead of its closure. “It is a sad day, I love the building and there’s such a lovely atmosphere here,” said Susan Walsh who used to come to the market to buy flowers for Foxrock Church from Joe Duffy, of Joseph M Duffy & Sons.

“I just felt sad about him leaving that’s why I came in this morning to wish him all the best,” she said.

Mr Duffy, whose business is one of the oldest in the market, will continue trading nearby location on Mary’s Lane.

Angela Darragh, who grew up in the area and used to play around the market as a child, recalled coming in to buy fruit and vegetables with her grandmother.

“My maiden name was Miley and we were reared in Abbey Cottages which is just a stone’s throw from here, and we came to the market as small little people held by the hand.”

She said she hoped the new market would still be a facility for local people.

“It’s wonderful place I hope to God it stays in the hands of Dublin City Council and they do something for the people, particularly the people around here.”

Eamonn Cosgrave who worked in the market as a 17-year-old, and met his wife there, recalls how vibrant the market was in its heyday.

“It was unbelievable, it was full of life. Shop [owners] queuing up outside for the doors to open, everyone rushing in when the bell goes to start business,” he said.

“It is sad looking at all the memories that were here and the lovely lovely people that I met through here.”