Friday, March 19, 2010

Scenes from Smithfield

salad and bread

As a follow up to yesterday's post where I talk about the film Bananas on the Breadboard, I thought I might go out and take a few pictures of the people and places featured in the film. 

This woman is actually selling 'Grapes on the Breadboard'! These woman go to the markets in the morning to pick up fruit and veg that they then take down to the Henry Street area to sell off these prams. You can hear them before you see them because they will yell out, 'Grapes, two euro!' in a very distinct Dublin accent. In the 1980s this way of selling was unregulated. The shops along the streets decided they didn't want these women taking their business and the Garda started arresting the women and carting them off to jail. There were large protests and to make a long story short, the street traders are now licensed.

Stalls on Moore Street

One of the entrances to the only remaining original market in Smithfield. 
It was built in 1892 and holds fruit, vegetables and flowers.

This is the area that used to house the fish market which is next door to the fruit market. If you click on the picture you'll see the white strip is tile from the original market. It was demolished in 2005 with the idea they would regenerate the space into a sports complex.'s a parking lot.

Part of the Greek Street apartment block with the Four Courts building in the background. 

The other side of the Greek Street apartments
This apartment block was built in 1916 by Dublin Corporation (now Dublin City Council) in response to the collapse of a tenement building on Church Street in 1913. You can read a little more about that here. Some of the families have lived here since 1916 and have very strong ties to it.

Father Matthew Square with Capuchin Friary in the background
Some of the families from the demolished tenements are also moved into these squares. There are quite a few of these dotted around the neighborhood. When they were originally built they are two rooms upstairs and one room on the ground floor with a scullery in the back.

This is an older picture, but I realized I didn't take a picture of Smithfield Square, which was the main market area of Dublin for selling livestock. It used to be surrounded by old warehouse buildings, but those have been pulled down and these apartments put up. Now, I'm not a huge fan of pulling down historic buildings, but I've seen pictures of what it used to look like and this is a huge improvement. There are no longer street traders in Smithfield Square and the only market that still exists in the monthly horse sale. 

So there you have it. Just a few pictures of the 'hood! I really enjoy learning about the significance and history of an area. I do find it makes me appreciate it more. There were huge regeneration plans for the Smithfield area and unfortunately they were all sidelined even before the recession hit. Hopefully one day some money will be reinvested into this neighborhood to at least try and restore the sense of community which has been lost. 


  1. Love the pictures. I've always wanted to check out those stalls, and that lady's pram is kicka$$.

  2. I really loved the red block apartments. It's such a cheer bit of color!

  3. Thanks for the pictures of Smithfield. I recently moved here (from Southern California) and I think it's interesting to learn some of the history behind the area.