Dublin Cattle Market 1863 – 1973

dublin cattle market

The old Dublin Cattle Market, the biggest in the city and one of the largest on these islands, was situated off the North Circular Road on Prussia Street for 90 years.

Cattle ‘marts’ as they are known today had not come into existence, nor had the transport of cattle in lorries by road been developed, which meant that cattle had to walk all the way from farm to the market.

As the Dublin market was held on Thursday, the cattle were driven in by road on Wednesday night so as to arrive early on Thursday morning in time for the auctions. Large droves of cattle came from Celbridge, through Chapelizod, Dunshaughlin and Ashbourne. Some cattle were grazed overnight in fields along the Cabra Road; which lead people nearby to continually complain about the bleating of the flocks of sheep all through the early hours of Thursday morning. The pubs and boarding houses never complained though as the City Arms Hotel in Prussia Street and Hanlon’s Pub saw the clinching of many a cattle deal.

After the market, cows were run all the way down the North Quays or, towards the end, were shunted by rail from the Cabra rail depot to the North Wall station for the Dublin-Liverpool boat. A different type of cattle can be seen queing up outside the station today. But this lot aren’t catching the 11pm ferry to Birkenhead. They’re waiting for a gig. It’s now the The O2.

When Dr. Patrick Hillary signed the E.E.C. Treaty in 1972 it was the beginning of the end for the Dublin Cattle Market. Today all that remains are the iron gates and the plaque commemorating the opening by the Rt. Hon. J.P. Vereher, Lord Mayor of Dublin dated 1863.

By Austin Cromie