To Market, To Market « Designing Dublin: Learning to Learn

To Market, To Market

We mapped, we walked, we looked at data, we read reports, we consulted oracles, we asked people, we threw darts at a map and finally, we decided where we were going to work. We’ll be skulking around (in a nice way) in….. *drum roll*… the Markets!

“The wheres?”, I hear you collectively mutter. Yes, the Markets. The area roughly enclosed by Capel St, Church St, North King St and the Liffey. It’s an amazing, textured, labyrinthine place that seems to have fallen out of Dublin’s contemporary consciousness. Riddled with decay and neglect – some beautiful, some sad – the place is teeming with history, wonderful people, character, stories, odd little back alleys, open spaces and most of all, potential.

It’s genuinely bizarre that many Dubliners don’t seem to register the area at all. It’s often confused with Smithfield, but it’s very clearly its own quarter. Although it’s not the most visually inviting of places, the fruit markets are open to the public for retail (pop in for some bargain fruit, veg and flowers). The whole area seems to have a sense of ‘looking in on itself’. It’s full of winding little back streets and tall, blank walls. The place seems to hint that it has exciting secrets, lurking in little corners.

Gotta love these giant walls.

I’d recommend popping down there at different times of the day; the contrast is astonishing. In the morning, it’s all bustle, with forklifts buzzing around and trucks squeezing through the lanes. In the evening, it’s so quiet it borders on desolate.

A final note; anyone with an interest in typography, hustle on down. Maser’s They Are Us project may have garnered a lot of attention, but original, hand-painted shop signs abound down here and sadly, they may be an endangered species.

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