‘The City Markets’ « Designing Dublin: Learning to Learn

‘The City Markets’

The old fruit and vegetable markets just off Capel Street hold a special place in my heart. Back when I was an art student I used to walk to the markets area from college quite regularly and wander around with no great purpose. I’d buy some fruit and have a little chit chat with the vendors. I’d sit on a kerb on Chancery Street eating an apple and people watch, taking the odd, sly photograph here and there. I’d spend hours sketching the beautiful iron work around the entrances and in the rafters of the old Victorian building. There are so many details to that Market building that must have been painstaking to create.

This is the stuff that I’d think about while walking around. I’d try and fathom the amount of time, effort and skill that must have gone into making old buildings like that, considering there were no electrical tools or modern machinery at the time. Craftmanship like that is no longer economically viable in modern buildings, which I find a pity. These days we have mass produced materials that are made to order and are fitted together like Lego Technics, often leaving them void of character. When I’m around beautiful, old buildings I often get a sense of time passing or meditation, I’m not really too sure what it is, but it’s a nice feeling that I rarely get around modern architecture.

Conversations that I would have with people working around the Markets would often include what the place was like in the past. There’s a hint of sadness attached to their stories, like things have been lost and people never got a chance to grieve properly. I feel that that hint of sadness emanates from the area.

In saying that, there is also a beautiful charm to the area, a place of character and soul. Personally, I’m glad that the place did not undergo the proposed redevelopment that was intended for it. My fear would be that the existing charm and character would have been levelled to the ground if those plans went ahead. In the past it was all too easy to demolish and rebuild. Now the country finds itself in a predicament where the easy option is no longer an option because the money has dried up. I feel that if we utilise the resources and amenities of the area to their true potential the existing charm can be maintained with minimal money spent in comparison to the massive amounts spent in places like Smithfield and Georges Dock.

If you haven’t been to the Market area recently I recommend you take a stroll around. Walk through Capel Street, stroll down the cobble stoned alley of Anglesea Row. TAake in the sights and sounds from a bench in the Green Street park or perhaps you’d prefer something more energetic like a game of handball in the free court provided just behind the court house. Have a chat with the workers, they’re friendly and open. Soak up the atmosphere in the morning and imagine what it could be like if there was bit of love shown to it. What an exciting area this could be in the city for people to go. The place is ready, it’s bubbling and waiting to boil.

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