Dublin’s Shuttered Victorian Fruit and Vegetable Market Announces Its Return

Dublin’s Victorian Fruit and Vegetable Market is slated to reopen in August 2026, five years after its closure. And the Irish City Council is already talking about how great it’s going to be.

While it has yet to open, the market is already getting competitive with its neighbors, specifically with the iconic English Market in Cork. “We’ll be far better than [the English Market in] Cork once we get going, but things take a while to get to a point where you pull the trigger. Then when you pull the trigger it happens very quickly,” Dublin City Council chief executive Richard Shakespeare recently told The Irish Times.

That’s a bold claim, especially since the English Market in Cork has been operating successfully since 1788 — including surviving the Burning of Cork in 1920, as well as famine, war, and floods — while the newest iteration of Dublin’s market has yet to get up and running.

The market, a beacon of local culture, plans to feature a diverse range of food sellers. Its focus on local producers and vendors is a testament to its commitment to reflecting a modern Ireland, a community that values its own. 

The building where the market is housed was initially opened in 1892 with the intention of improving hygiene during a period when food was traditionally sold off carts in the often unsanitary streets.

Located on Mary’s Lane between Capel Street and Smithfield, the building has remained empty since its closure in 2019 to aid in its redevelopment. The Irish Independent notes that the refurbishment process was initially slated to be completed in 2021; however, was delayed due to changes in the tendering process.

Since then, the historic red building has fallen victim to vandalism, including its large wooden doors being set on fire. Redevelopment has been painfully slow; however, Shakespeare has said that he expects the project, which is anticipated to cost roughly €25 million, to move forward rapidly. Smithfield, the neighborhood where the market is located has been rapidly transforming in recent years and was recently recognized by Time Out as the “second coolest on earth.” Once reopened, the market has the potential to help continue to revitalize the Northside of the city. 

 Plans for the market were initially unveiled in 2005 under the Markets Framework Plan and included not only the market but also apartment, retail, and office spaces that would span a total of six stories. Those plans have since been scrapped for a more modest redevelopment plan.

Work to remove vegetation and loose materials from the market is expected to be completed within the next two months, and a contract for structural stabilization of the building is in the works.

Once open, Shakespeare says that the city hopes the market will be a place that operates from 10 in the morning to 10 at night and will “add to the vibrancy and vitality of the city.”

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