Alive Alive O! Dublin's Markets and Street Sellers

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Unknown Possibly Daisy MarketCrying cockles and mussels! Alive Alive O!

Cabbages on Moore Street, lilies on Grafton Street, Christmas decorations on Thomas Street. Whatever you might wish to buy, the traders had it, and if you were lucky you might get a wisecrack or a blessing thrown in with your half dozen bananas. Many Dubliners will have fond memories of the Iveagh, the Daisy, the Blackberry, the Dandelion. Of Smithfield Horse Fair and the Fruit and Vegetable markets. Some of these markets were housed in sumptuous Victorian buildings, some took up temporary abode in back lanes and disused warehouses. Some of them go back to the 18th century, and others are much more recent in origin, but whatever their history, the markets are an integral part of the city's heritage.

The photographs here tell the story of the changes to the markets during the late 20th and early 21st century - the demise of the Iveagh clothes market, the re-invention of the Smithfield Horse Fair and the huge changes undergone by the street traders in Moore Street during the redevelopment of the area from the 1970s onwards. Whatever the changes to the built environment of Dublin, at the heart of the markets are the people who sell there, engaging in bargaining and repartee and keeping this aspect of Dublin life very much "Alive Alive O!" 

View Alive Alive O! Image Gallery

Further Resources

In addition to these photographs, Dublin City Public Libraries also holds many other sources on the social and cultural history of Dublin, some of which are available online and some through the Dublin City Public Libraries network. The Reading Room, Dublin City Library and Archive, Pearse Street, holds a wealth of material on the history of Dublin, including books, pamphlets, journals, street directories, and almanacs.

The following online resources can be accessed free of charge at your local library (access links via our Netvibes-based porta on library computers). Ask library staff for information and assistance.

  • Libraries and Archives Digital Repository: Digital records relating to Dublin, including photographs, postcards, letters, maps and ephemeral material. Highlights of the collection include the Fáilte Ireland Photographic Collection, Wide Street Commission Map Collection (1757-1851), the Irish Theatre Archive and the Birth of the Republic Collection, which comprises material from the period of the foundation of the Irish state.
  • Irish Times Digital Archive: This online archive service gives access to contemporary editions of the Irish Times from the mid-nineteenth century until the present.
  • Irish Newspaper Archive: This online archive service gives access to contemporary editions of the Irish Independent and a range of other newspapers.
  • The Ireland-JSTOR Collection: This online archive of academic articles can also be accessed free of charge at your local library.

For further reading, consult the Library Catalogue.

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