By Aidan Coyle
Dubliners love a good market. The Liberty Market, George’s Street Arcade and Moore Street Market are just a few of the more iconic examples. So, why is it that within the unstable and uncertain business climate, markets remain a vital and thriving part of Dublin industry?
One of the undoubted features of markets is the personal touch that they offer shoppers and each market manager and stall owner has their own story to tell. Des Vallely is the owner and director of Irish Village Markets who run in various locations around the city and country. Despite his success, Des does not come from a trading background.
“I took an interest in organic growing whilst working in the IT sector. What initially started as a hobby, developed into a full-time career,”said Vallely.
“Terenure would have always had farmers markets back in the day so it was to bring something old back and to try and revitalise it”– Des Vallely
“Once I started growing vegetables, I needed an outlet for my produce and decided to start my own market in Monkstown and set up a market every weekend. We were soon joined by other growers and producers which led to the establishment of Irish Village Markets.”
Anne Talbot’s Bushy Park Market is relatively new to the scene in Dublin terms. The market she runs with Georgina Culshaw first set up its stalls in 2014 in Terenure Village before relocating to Bushy Park. The market has quickly become a great asset to the area and its community.
Anne said: “It was set up initially as a volunteer project. Terenure would have always had farmers markets back in the day so it was to bring something old back and to try and revitalise it.
“It’s now a destination for young families and people in the community to really come out and hang out and enjoy”– Anne Talbot
“This is its fifth year that it’s been running up here and it’s now a destination for young families and people in the community to come out and hang out and enjoy a really nice park at the same time,” said Anne.
“Parents are able to come down and watch their kids and have a coffee and then hang around. It has just become a concrete Saturday destination that people rely on in the area.
“It’s very heavily community focused though. That’s the main agenda for it. The purpose of it was to create a destination for young families and that is still its purpose and I think that will remain its purpose.”
Vallely believes markets need to capitalise on the community feeling they can generate as it’s one of their prized assets.
“Visitors seem to enjoy the atmosphere and experience when visiting markets and share this experience with family and friends,” said Vallely. “This generates a good level of interest and drives additional footfall to markets.”
There are also practical benefits to shopping in markets. Karl Merry, Assistant Inspector at the Licensing Section of Dublin City Centre believes it is vital for members of the public to support local markets. He said: “There is a growing awareness that supporting local businesses is good for the local economy, the standard of produce is probably better, and it is generally a more sustainable way to shop.”
“The standard of produce is probably better, and it is generally a more sustainable way to shop”– Karl Merry
Anne Talbot agrees that markets offer a great opportunity to support local businesses: “We have a policy here as well that most of the people are local so we let local people come in first and then if we can’t fill that niche then we start going out further.
“It just gives small little industries a chance to show off their wares and not have to pay extortionate rents at the same time it’s kind of a win/win situation.”
Sustainability and protecting the environment are becoming increasingly important factors in determining where people choose to do their shopping. Local markets have a big advantage over bigger national and multinational retailers in this area.
“Climate change is becoming a consideration in how people shop,” said Merry. “People are more conscious of buying food in a way that impacts less on the environment.”