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JC-Weighbridge house question?

Thursday, February 3rd, 2011

Wouldn’t it be nice to see this building turned into a small shop/ coffee bar with seating in the park.

I would see it being leased to a contractor who would be responsible for the park as well as the shop.

Ice cream in the summer, hot drinks in the winter, fruit from the market on a small scale, as well as the park open during trading hours. Maybe a tent/small marquee, with seating capacity during the winter.

The full potential of this area could be realised without any cost to DCC and there would be some finance coming in through rent on the lease, maybe rates as well.

The other benifit would be the park open all day rather than the three hours at present. a lot of money was spent bringing it to a high level of excellance, lets use it.

It could be a nice lively spot not far from the luas/passing tourists/local residents of the flat complex (Chancery house).

Dublin-A City defined by it’s ability to listen.

JC-Street Conversations.

Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011

Headed out with lindsey to carry out some street interviews around our 100 ideas for the markets area. We first had a walk to see where would be the most fertile areas to harvest. We choose Capel Street at the corner of little Mary’s Street-Inside the Corpo fruit and veg market as well as outside to talk to traders/Wholesale and retail-Outside the old Corpo tax office alongside the Luas route and close to one of it’s stops.

Back at base Eimer was printing off some maps and question sheets. The idea behind the maps is/was to capture the routes people took through the area.

Lindsey, Shane and Micheal had created cardboard tables/benches for us to work on while Micheal and Una had put together a mini sanwidch board inviting people to help us- Design a Better Markets Area.  What an invitation! The graphics for this was were designed by Brian. It was a similiar idea to what Paul and myself had used very successfully in our conversations at the point market before Christmas.

Our first point of call was outside the Market building  on Mary’s lane. We set up our cardboard table in front of an empty unit and immediatly attracted attention from traders. “Whats this about” “Who are yis” “Are yis from the corpo” etc. This attention immediatle gave us a ready group of people to interview. Some of the people there were very tentative about talking to us and did but looking over their shoulder. The reason for this became apparant when one of the owners appeared and to say he was outspoken would be putting it mildly.

He made referances to all this having happened before “Waste of time” some expletives and referance to “Young people havent a clue, dont know what they are talking about” rolled from his lips.  He also pointed his finger as if to make a point  about young people but slowed down when i drew his attention to my age, not a lot younger than him. This changed his demeanour ever so slightly but he didn’t want his views recorded but was prepared to share them-well throw them at us would be more accurate. We told him we understood his concerns, emphasised etc and finished on good terms with him.

There was certainly a lot of passion out there for the market but a lot of anger against the council (DCC) and their lack of interest in improving footfall.

Some of this passion was replicated when we moved inside the market where we were greatly facilitate by the manager Joe Crosbie.

The lack of certainty and falling footfall was the major concern here. There was relief that the downturn of the Celtic tiger had stopped the proposed developement of the market as proposed by DCC. There was a feeling that this would have changed the charactor of the building and the area. Tradition and history seems to be very important to people within the market itself.

Everyone spoke very highly of Joe Crosbie,but were less than kind about his employer, DCC.

We spoke to traders and buyers here, mostly Irish but a few from differant ethnic groupings likr Romeo from Nigeria who felt the building should be knocked down and rebuilt as a shopping centre. He also felt it should be inclusive of all ethnic groupings. I should say his views were in a minority of one.

We broke for lunch after this and had a sandwich in Brendans Coffee bar which we found very welcoming. We noted an upstair part of this unit which would be ideal for a scheduled conversation.

After lunch we headed up to the old DCC tax office along the Luas line. Our intention here was to capture people passing through the area.

As soon as we put up the table and spoke to one person we attracted enough people to create a queue. The invitation to people to help us design a better market area was an enticing prospect. People generally are not invited so openly to help in developement or design tasks or share their opinions, in this manner. (Planners/Designers take note)

The enthusiasm was palpable and the exchanges interesting. Here we spoke to legal people/Builders/Visitors as well as residents of the new apartment blocks. We didn’t seem to meet anyone from the local social housing. One of the questions asked was about our connection to DCC and what we intended to do with the outcome of our conversations. We explained our process based method and they seemed happy with this with the exception of one woman, who didn’t stop but kept roaring “I want more water”.

We called it a day and headed back to record all the comments. This was done on an excell sheet and stored to be used later.

The next morning Lindsey and myself headed up to Capel street at the corner of Little Mary Street to try and capture people passing throught the area.

Our experience here was similiar to the tax office, as soon as we set up our cardboard table and started conversing with  one person, a queue formed. we had a busy morning with very enthusiastic people from all over the City and beyond who had diverse reasons for being in the area. Shopping, wandering, working,students from the DITs, on interview and one guy who was cycling around on a bike advertising products. He stopped here to have his hair cut, not by us, i should add.

One amusing moment was when a young student asked me where our funding came from and i assured him we worked on a very minimal budget, he looked at our cardboard table and quipped “I see what you mean”.

Dublin-A City defined by People.

JC-The Weight of a City

Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011

This is where trucks were weighed.

The truck/van etc, would stop on the weighbridge, which was more than likely where you see the road/double yellow lines, in front of the building.

The weight of the laden truck would be recorded by the scales of the mechanism, inside the building, with a reading noted manually by an operative and a copy handed to the driver.

The opposite happened on the way out of the market area, or after delivering it’s load, with the differance between the two loads being the weight of the produce.

This was the validating mechanism for all product in the city. If you were bringing scrap metal to Hammond lane or any of the various metal companies, they accepted the weight as recorded by Dublin Corporation(Now DCC) as the means by which a price was agreed. Metal would have a price per ton and this was paid by referance to the weight recorded by Dublin Corporation on one of it’s weighbridges. This also applied to lorries/trucks and other comercial motorised vechicles if they were applying for a motor tax cert.

Other loads like print for newspapers, paper etc that was imported, would be weighed here and import taxes paid as appropriate.

A sum of money was then paid by the driver for the service.

This weighhouse was closed during the 1970s. You will noticed the small hatches/windows where documentation was dealt with. Behind it lies a beautiful park which is only open for three hours a day, Why?

A similiar weighhouse was demolised in the Smithfield market in 1999, as part of the improvement.

Dublin-A City defined by it’s weight

Noel Carolan, pictured, was one of the last people to work in the weighhouse in Smithfield.


Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011

Met some of the lads from upstart in the flea market based in Newmarket at theback of the coombe/Cork street  area of Dublin.

Upstart is about promoting the importance of creativity inIreland.

It’s main aim at the moment is to put creativity at the centre of public consciousness during the upcoming election, up to polling day 25th of


They intend to hang 1000 election sized posters throughout Dublin during the election campaign. these posters will reflect all disiplines within the arts and after the election they will be auctioned off to pay expenses. (I have a feeling these may disappear before election day?)

Also on twitter and facebook.

Dublin-A City defined by its Art.

JC-Newmarket/Flea market

Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011

Paid a visit to this market on sunday to compare with the markets area we are working in on the southside of the Liffey-North compared to South.

It happens every month on the last sunday with stall holders from all over the country. It is really a bussing market with lots of fare for everyone-books, food, cosmetics,clothes (Essential in a flea market) ,music CDs as well as vinyl. I spoke to a lady from Cork who explained to me the growing value of plastic from the 70s. I was of the opinion that plastic was a sore on the rump of our environment, seemingly no!. She tells me that 70s plastic was of a higher quality than plastics produced today. This comes down to the plentiful supply of oil back then, compared to the cost of it today. She informed me that people now dig up old rubbish sites to retrieve old plastic and sell it on. Anyway this was her excuse for selling a plastic ice bucket for more than i thoughtit worth.

There is a small area in the middle of the street which i took to be for children-small seats, puzzles etc,but adults were using this for seating and drinking their coffee-tiny small seat?

The croud was lively and buying but seemed to me differant to the people living in the area, certainly the accents would suggest so-a dangerous assumption?

I suspect that this market does not interact with the local community, the number of cars would suggest that a large portion of people travelled, as i did, from far and wide. It is , of course possible that some of the middle calss accent were from the new apartments locally as opposed to the flat complexes and working class housing in the area.

The reason i mention this, is our study in the markets area of North Dublin, around the Corpo fruit and Veg market and its lack of connectivity with the local community. Would this work in terms of uniting the community as the old Daisy market did or the ladys who sold bananas on the breadboards (If you havent seen the film-get it now. Its available from the arts office of DCC and some libraries.)

Never the less, you should pay a visit to this market on the last sunday in February, maybe i’ll see you there.

As an after thought-i found it a great place to haggle-have a go, it works.

Dublin-a City defined by its ability to haggle.

JC-Weighbridge house/Why?

Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011

This is where trucks were weighed coming in and outof the markets area. a similiar weighhouse was demolised in the smithfield market some years ago as part of the improvement. You will noticed the small hatches/windows where documentation was dealt with. Behind it lies a beautiful park which is only open for three hours a day, Why?

It also seems a shame to me that this lovely building isn’t open as a small shop,vendor for the passing trade Why not?

As i walk through this area i constantly ask myself, Why Not? as i look at the potential as opposed to the reality of now?.

JC-The Daisy market, 2

Wednesday, January 26th, 2011

The Daisy Market was sited alongside the Dublin Corporation (DCC) Fruit and Veg market. It is no longer in existance, the site is closed off and basically a derilict site. There are formal and informal plans for its future.

This was an area on the North of the Liffey where second hand clothes were sold. You could pick up a good suit or dress and a family could be clothed for very little money.

It was next to Capel street/North King street/Bolton street/Parnell street, where a lot of clothing and sewing shops/factories were sited.

Clothing, as well as fruit/Vegatable and fish were part of the economy of the area.

Another side of this and other markets, was the illicit trading that went on, accepted by customers but constantly the bain of the local police. This would be the selling of Black market tickets to matches in Croke park (Gaelic football and Hurling) or Dalymount (Soccer). If caught, the scalper (Illicit traders) would be jailed and fined.

There is a humourous account of this activity captured by Cecil sheridan and Paddy Kenny in their Play/Sketch titled ‘The Daisy Market’. This would have been performed in the Olympia.

While this play is no longer in print, it is a testimony to its ability to capture real life and real people in Dublin, that it is still performed to this day in communities across the country. Copies of the script are passed around through contacts in both amateur and professional theatre.

JC-Ideas for the markets.

Tuesday, January 25th, 2011
  1. An exhibition in the market
  2. a reading /production of the sketch/play-Daisy Market.
  3. Painting/Art workshop in the market-once off.
  4. Have a series of smiles painted on derilict buildings
  5. Request local people/business/organisations to create box pictures for exhibition
  6. A riding school, similiar to that in Tallaght. (Think of the Horse market in Smithfield and the history of horses in this area).
  7. Local band play in the market-once offs
  8. Bring back the daisy market for one weekend.
  9. Rent/Buylocal unit and rent out to starter businesses.
  10. Create a small childrens inner city animal farm.
  11. Junior garden/Plots
  12. A community to grow produce for sale in the market.
  13. Open Mary’s Abbey for a day/Weekend. Maybe turn it into a coffee bar.

JC-Church Street disaster.

Monday, January 24th, 2011

At 8.45pm on the 2nd of September 1913 two houses (Tenements) collapsed on Church street. Ironically this was two days after the arrest of Big Jim Larkin in O’Connell Street on the 31st of August.

The houses, no 66 and 67 were owned by Mrs Margaret Ryan (Also known as Bridget) whose family ran a lime and sand business at 681/2 Church street, directly at the back of the houses that collapsed. At the time of the collapse, Mrs Ryans daughter , Mary Leahy was at that moment collecting rent from the tenents of these properties. Her husband Micheal Leahy was across the road talking to Jack Kelly the caretaker of the Father Matthew Hall.

All those killed (7 people) lived at number  66, the first building to collapse. There had been 26 people living in this building.

Those who died are commemorated with a plaque on the square facing the Father Matthew hall, (Father Matthew Square).

The death toll may have been even higher except for the fact that many local children were at an entertainment in the Father Matthew hall at that moment.

An excellant account of this tradedy can be sourced in Christian Corlett’s book, ‘Darkest Dublin’, published by Wordwell. (See;

Dublin-A City defined by it’s past.

JC-Capel street mint

Sunday, January 23rd, 2011

In 1689 James II after abdicating from the throne, issued a decree raising the value of English gold by 20 percent and Silver by 8 percent.

In june of that year he decided to make his own money from brass and established mints in both Limerick and 27 Capel street in Dublin, called the James press. They manufactured sixpences, shillings and half crowns. All this because he was short of money.

This was intended to be a short term measure, so coins were dated by the month and year. It was his intention to convert this money into silver on a month by month basis once he was back on the throne, but this never happened.

The mint soon ran out of copper and brass and was replaced by tin and pewter.

Brass was also sourced from Dublin castle by commandering their two brass canons.

Walter Plunket of Limerick supplied a large quantity of mixed metals and later four or five broken bells and a number of old brass canons from Galway and Kinsale, leading to the money being known popularly as ‘gun money’.

James fled Ireland after the Battle of the Boyne and the Capel st mint fell into the hands of the Williamite forces.

William III early proclemation from his camp in Finglas, just after the battle in 1690, devalued the copper coinage to a fraction of it’s value and in Feb 1691 the currency was declared worthless.

Dublin-A City defined by it’s wealth.