Hidden Gems: Markets

 
 

With Dublin playing host to a plethora of markets every weekend, Grainne Loughran picks out the four most visit-worthy of the lot

Temple Bar Book Market

Open 11am-6pm, every Saturday and Sunday

Temple Bar Square

Small but select, Temple Bar Book Market is the place to go if you’re looking for stimulation for the eyes and the ears at the weekend. Rain, hail or shine, the Book Market offers true value for vintage reading and contrary to the name, there are also some great record and LP stands around if you’re ready for a good rummage.

There’s always something a little bit special about pottering around Temple Bar once it’s been emptied of its Friday night drink bottles, which may be why the market opens at 11am rather than any earlier like other markets in the city. If you just can’t wait to get started reading after your visit, Café Irie is conveniently located just a stone’s throw away.

The stall owners are not only really helpful, but have an obvious love for reading and music so they’re always open for a chat and recommendations. They also stock some collectible, rare and vintage titles which means that getting lucky with a good find happens more often than at the usual market. As well as this, the prices are generally good, but if you find something that seems to be offering less than a bang for your buck, haggling is definitely worth a try.

 

Dublin Flea Market

Open 11am-5pm, the last Sunday of every month

The Co-op on Newmarket square, Dublin 8

Probably the least hidden of these Hidden Gems, Dublin Flea Market is one of the biggest and best around. Thankfully it only takes place on the last Sunday of every month, because otherwise we’d be living off crumbs forever; not due to the prices, but due to the sheer volume of bits and pieces that once you see, you absolutely have to have.

From bikes to board games, kitsch to couture, you’re sure to find something that tickles your fancy, and even if you don’t, there are few people who can say no to the food stands. Their famous falafel comes especially recommended.

Not only is there food and trinkets galore however, but also live bands, musicians and DJs to keep you entertained as you wander the stalls. The market takes place mostly indoors with some outdoor stalls too, so you don’t even need to worry too much about getting soaked on a rainy Sunday, and they rotate every month.

While some items might seem more dubious than others (dolls’ heads and religious iconography anyone?), it’s rare that you’ll see anyone else wearing your jewellery or adorning your prints on their walls. Again, the prices are reasonable and as it’s on a Sunday, parking is free; though don’t forget that buses will run less frequently.

 

Blackrock Market

Open Fridays: 6.00pm – 9.00pm, Saturdays: 11am – 5.30pm, Sundays: 12noon – 5.30pm.

19A Main Street, Blackrock.

Step aside Forbidden Planet, there’s a new haven for comic book lovers, and it’s hidden in Blackrock Market. Superhero Comics, while small, is definitely the most unique stand here and a well kept secret, with comic books, graphic novels, annuals, platform games, games consoles and other memorabilia to satisfy even the most devoted fans.

Though it can be pricey, Blackrock Market houses some fairly unique stalls such as a beanbag stand and some particularly nice handmade cards and jewellery if you’re looking for a special gift and have a bit of extra cash to splash. Unfortunately though, as the stalls rotate regularly, the market can be hit and miss at times, so don’t expect to find bargains every time you visit.

Semi-indoors and always decorated, it’s one of the most picturesque markets in Dublin and worth a visit even if just for a look, and though it’s a bit out from the city centre, Blackrock itself is lovely for a wander around too.

Blink, however, and you’ll most definitely miss it. It may be just off the main street of Blackrock, but as it’s situated down a narrow laneway, Blackrock Market is definitely the most hidden of these markets. Even when you know where it is, it’s often necessary to be guided by your nose towards the curry stands down the lane.

 

Fusion Sundays World Culture Market

Open from 11am-5pm every second Sunday.

12 Newmarket Square, Dublin 8.

If you prefer markets to be more food oriented but are looking for something with a little more zing than your usual fruit and veg farmer’s market, look no further than Fusion Sundays World Culture Market at the Dublin Food Co-Op. There are no words to describe the array of foods that an empty student belly and an emptier student pocket will grumbled over at not being able to purchase and consume immediately.

With stands from countries as varying as Greece, India, Catalonia, Egypt, Morocco and many more, it’s impossible not to find something to salivate over, and with so many different cultures present, there’s an amazing atmosphere around the whole area. The market isn’t terribly big, but there are also some good workshops during market hours, some of which are free, such as African drumming, Korean flute and Italian dance if you feel like trying something new.

Food is quite reasonably priced, but beware that if you buy anything by the kilo it may end up more expensive than you anticipated. A must for those who like to wander off the beaten track when it comes to food, but probably not for those whose stomach is bigger than their purse.

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