Revival of Dublin’s historic fruit and vegetable market in Smithfield


Smithfield Fruit & Vegetable Market, Dublin, tags: historic market - (Image: Commerce)

Smithfield’s historic Victorian market in Dublin, located on Mary’s Lane, is preparing for a revival following a five-year closure. The landmark building, which has remained vacant since its closure in 2019 for redevelopment purposes, will finally welcome visitors back with open doors from August 2026. City Council Chief Executive Richard Shakespeare confirmed the long-awaited news this week, expressing optimism about the revamped market offering a unique Dublin experience.

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

Richard Shakespeare

The initial renovation plan, which was expected to be completed in 2021, faced delays due to complications with the tender process and structural issues affecting the roof. Unfortunately, the vacant market space has become a hotspot for vandalism, antisocial behaviour, and even arson incidents, causing concerns among residents.

Mr Shakespeare envisions the market as more substantial than its English counterparts in Cork, aiming to encapsulate Dublin’s quintessential charm. He intends for the market to operate from 10 am until 10 pm, making it a vibrant hub within the city’s social scene.

Gary Gannon, TD for Dublin Central, expressed his excitement about the reopening’s potential transformative impact on the north side of Dublin. The refurbishment project includes not only the retail food market but also restaurant spaces, aiming to create a distinctive dining experience for visitors.

Meanwhile, Dublin City Council anticipates spending €12m-€15m on stabilization works for the derelict Iveagh Markets building, and initial work is expected to begin at the end of April 2023.

The Victorian fruit and vegetable market began operations in 1892 as part of an initiative to enhance the overall cleanliness of the city. Dublin 7’s Smithfield neighbourhood, now recognized as the “second coolest on earth” by Time Out magazine, will be graced with the presence of this historic venue once more. The refurbished market building is expected to become a significant attraction for locals and tourists, breathing new life into the area.

Dublin’s Smithfield area has already seen developments such as the iconic Dublin Food Co-op, which was established in 1983, showcasing the community’s commitment to sustainable local food production. In recent years, various events like Me Auld Flower, Night Moves club night, and The Nightmare Realm have taken place at the venue, hinting at the potential versatility of the space.

The market’s renovated look

The renovated market is expected to house a diverse array of food producers showcasing their distinctively Dublin-inspired offerings. Dublin City Council intends to incorporate eateries as part of its vision for the market, aiming to keep the area vibrant and bustling even into the late hours of the day. For those intrigued by the history of the city’s Victorian era, the letters and diaries of the poet, diarist, and editor William Allingham offer a captivating insight into literary culture during that time.

As part of its commitment to sustainability, the Council plans to incorporate eco-friendly practices within the market, such as using reusable bags and implementing recycling stations.

The fruit and vegetable market’s rich history spans over a century, making it an essential piece of the area’s cultural tapestry. As the iconic place nears its grand reopening, local businesses and residents eagerly anticipate its positive impact on Smithfield’s community.

The refurbished market will serve not only as a hub for local food production but also as an educational space for visitors to learn about Dublin’s unique culinary traditions. With its revitalization underway, the historic fruit and vegetable market in Smithfield promises to be once again a source of pride for the city and its residents.

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