Seán McGovern goes looking for some bargains – and actually finds them! – in Dublin’s coolest monthly Flea Market
The last Sunday of every month sees an unusual mix of people head to Newmarket in Dublin 8 for a rummage, a bargain or even just a look at the bizarre mix of what’s to offer at the ‘Fleamarket’. The clientele ranges from those looking for something unusal, those wishing to pass on their possessions, and poser-types trying their best to be “povo-chic”. This conconction results in a great fun and friendly atmosphere, with DJs on site playing some excellent 70s classics as patrons indulge in what’s to offer and dine on some wonderful organic food and coffees.
As for what’s on offer… hit and miss of course, but some excellent finds, including some obscure collections of 7” vinyl features artists as varied as Prince and Christy Moore to Grace Jones and Joe Dolan. Prices are of course reasonable and haggling is encouraged – nay, expected – when you decide to buy more than one €2 short-play.
The clothes available are an extensive and curious bunch. otwo found a size 8 silk Reiss evening dress with studded detail on the arms and shoulders for a whopping €20. Five minutes later, it was gone. The bargain-savvy know exactly what’s on offer. By wondrous serendipity, many of the styles on offer seem to have been dormant in someone’s wardrobe since the 1980s only to instantly become fashionable once more: shoulderpads are a-poppin’ at every turn. Many of the sellers seem to come from costuming backgrounds, having worked in the world of theatre, and know that the sheer strangeness of some outfits will attract someone, somewhere.
But it’s just clothes, there’s handmade jewellery, books and boardgames. There is a strong sense of nostalgia as you meander your way from stall to stall, with some of the most ordinary looking people peddling some of the most interesting things to be seen – one example being pairs of earrings made from old Barbie shoes. A wonderful blend of tacky pop culture and ironic fashion make them instant must-haves for anybody who knows they can pull them off. Elsewhere, there are beautiful veiled hats and mounds of glittering brooches, rhinestones and coloured glass gleaming from piles strewn in aged jewellery boxes.
The most appealing thing about the Flea Market is that there is something there for everyone, whether you’re looking for a scarf or a painting. The market is especially interesting for someone with a secure sense of style, who knows that there is a wonderful theatricality to be obtained from the fashions on offer. Go on, be amazed. It won’t cost you the world, and if it does, you can always bargain.
The Dublin Flea Market at Newmarket, Dublin 8, runs on the final Sunday of every month. See http://dublinflea.blogspot.com/.