End Of An Era: Dublin's iconic Fruit and Vegetable Market closes its doors

After 127 years of trading, the beautiful building will shut down in order to be redeveloped as a commercial and retail space.

The exterior of the Fruit and Vegetable Market, a Victorian building. A few traders stand by the high arched door.

In its final morning of trading before massive redevelopment of the site, Dublin’s Fruit and Vegetable Market prepared to close its doors after 127 years. Photographer Babs Daly was on hand to capture the last day of a city centre icon.

Dublin City Council plan for the space to be converted into a retail and commercial space, however the tender process has not started yet, so plans could change. The redevelopment process is expected to take up to two years.

The exterior of the Fruit and Vegetable Market, a Victorian building. A few traders stand by the high arched door.

In the meantime, traders who have called the space home, some for decades, will move on to start afresh in a new location with an option to return to the redeveloped space whenever it is completed, or say goodbye to the venue for good.

A compensation package to the tune of €5 million will be shared among the traders, the portion of the shares dependent on the square footage their business once held inside the market, and their annual turnaround, which will of course be affected by the closure.

Many customers past and present turned up to witness the final day, or to pass on well-wishes to local traders they may not see again. Some who once worked in the Fruit and Vegetable Market came to reminisce about times past.

In an interview with The Irish Times, Eamonn Cosgrave, who had worked in the market as a teenager, even meeting his wife inside the building’s walls, shared some memories:

“It was unbelievable, it was full of life. Shop owners queuing up outside for the doors to open, everyone rushing in when the bell goes to start business. It is sad looking at all the memories that were here and the lovely lovely people that I met through here.”

With the building’s closure for redevelopment, it has been said that cafes and restaurants as well as food sellers will be approached to fill the vacant space upon its completion. While there are no guarantees yet in place, one would hope a truly iconic part of Dublin City Centre doesn’t become yet another soulless hotel.

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