We dived into our site study of the markets area this week. I walked the streets to absorb the place in several takes. My first take was one of bustle from the markets, the colour of the fruit& veg, a clear sense of character and potential moving towards Capel Street. But this contrasted sharply with a bleakness, a lack of people and a sense of the inhospitable elsewhere within the rough bounds of the area – from Church Street in the west, to Ormond Quay in the South, up to North King Street.
This was not a place designed for people but for warehouses and trucks. Everywhere I saw high foreboding windowless walls and derelict sites, on the principal routes through the area– along the luas lines on Chancery Street and along Mary’s Lane extending from Mary Street.
The common denominator was a lack of natural street surveillance – almost no retail shops with people browsing, no cafes with people looking out, no locals hanging out. I could only imagine how this deteriorates after the markets close and no activity happens at all. And like an industrial estate who would want to be there?
How would we get a foothold in here at all and how the hell would I uncover hidden gems here?
And yet I suspected that if I scratched the surface, I’d be bound to find something, something like character, lore and history pushing its way out of the ground just waiting to be cared for and remembered….
And so I became a detective…!