Words: Ellen Kenny
Dublin City Council will spend 7.4 million euro over the next two years to renovate and conserve the abandoned Smithfield-based fruit and vegetable market.
One of Dublin’s finest locations is one step closer to rejuvenation. Dublin City Council (DCC) announced that an architect has been chosen to design the renovations for the Victorian fruit and vegetable market in Smithfield.
While an official contract has not yet been signed, DCC spokespeople told The Dublin Inquirer that an architect to design renovations has been selected.
7.4 million euro will be spent on the long-term renovation of the market. Green Party Councillor Janet Horner, who sits on a council working group for city markets, said that “it will still be at least five years until it is up and running as a market”.
Funding to restore the market comes from the Urban Regeneration Development Fund.
Councillors have expressed a desire that the market still be used while renovations are underway. According to Councillor Cat O’Driscoll the market building should be used for regular cultural events and a transparent process for applying to do that set up: “We have a lack of event spaces across the city.” Using the building would protect it from becoming rundown too, she says.
The fruit and vegetable market on Mary’s Lane shut down in 2019 and 127 years in operation, but plans to restore the property have been ongoing since its closure. In early 2020, Dublin City Council tried to recruit a market operator who would also take care of the refurbishment.
A Dublin City Council spokesperson said that several events have taken place in the market building in recent months. Recent events include a dance music event for Culture Night, the Nightmare Realm Halloween experience, a Deadpan Pictures event and a living history project with former market traders, they said.
Current plans aim to restore the market to a fruit and vegetable vendor that sells Irish goods and food at reasonable prices. Independent councillor Sophie Nicoullaud that “the vision for it at the moment is good”.
“It will be a space that will provide for small food production companies in Ireland to sell things.”
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