Last month the Dublin Fruit and Vegetable Market in Smithfield closed for refurbishment, sixteen years after redevelopment was first planned.
Dublin City Fruit and Vegetable Wholesale Markets were designed in 1884 by Parke Neville (d.1886), completed with modifications after his death in 1892 by Spencer Harty, his successor as City Engineer and was opened on the 6th December 1892 by the Right Honourable Joseph M. Meade, Lord Mayor. The building occupied the whole block or former trade premises between Boot Lane (renamed St. Michan's Street), Mary's Lane, Arran Street East and Chancery Street (formerly Pill Lane). The level of decorative detail is typical of Victorian public architecture. The structural ironwork was supplied by J. Lysaght of Bristol, and decorative iron tympana by McGloughlin & Son ensure the building is well ventilated.
Modelled terracotta corbels of fish, fruit and vegetables were supplied by Henry Dennis of Ruabon, Wales. The template of the corbels and sculpting of Justice and Fair Trade over Mary's Lane entrance are attributed to C.W. Harrison & Sons, Dublin sculptors with local offices on Great Brunswick Street. Across St. Michan's Street, the contemporary brick Fish Market was built of similar design without ornament, and was demolished in the early twenty first century. The large market building is of technical interest in its terracotta decoration and for its employment of decorative cast-iron columns and early use of steel to the interior. The boards advertising the names of wholesalers in the interior are attractive, and the character of the 1890s market has been maintained.