Those of you who engage in a casual perambulation down the Grand Canal may have noticed a curious sight opposite the Mespil Hotel on Thursdays.
For the best part of nine years there has been a food market operating there, catering to all tastes from different cultures as far-flung as Ireland to Italy to Japan.
Every Thursday from 11am to 2pm a myriad of food stalls such as Pasta Box, Grub Hub and a host of others set up shop on the banks of the canal providing an alternative cultural glow to the often grim corporate surroundings!
“I think it’s pretty cool for the location,” said Michael Phelan, who operates the Brazilian BBQ stall, which has run there for just over a year. “You get a good international mix of people, with lots of Spanish and Italian kids during the summer, and on a nice day they just plonk themselves down on the canal.”
The market itself has essentially become an unofficial international hub for many foreign-born Irish residents, with the global cuisine on offer attracting many expatriates from the local area and beyond. Phelan then went on to state that many workers from local businesses such as Amazon and IBM are among the market’s most frequent customers.
“Most of the guys do between eight and 100 covers (meals) a day,” Phelan continued. “People come here from all over so it’s great. The market seems to bring more life to the area. It can get really busy sometimes but it makes a really nice difference and you even have people walking their dogs stopping by to check out what’s going on.”
On Fridays the market sets up its tents on Percy Place up towards Beggar’s Bush, though given the sporadic outbursts of sunshine the nation is receiving these days, the canal will probably be the average citizen’s first port of call.
The market has become quite prominent in recent times, with many businesses such as Lucozade working in tandem with some of the market business owners to work on promotions.
On our visit down to the market, NewsFour managed to have a chat with market manager Ken Covis, who gave us his own view on how the market has benefitted the local economy and has done great work in bringing people together, both from Ireland and from abroad.
“It brings a lot of different businesses together, and these people actually get to meet each other at the market,” Covis said. “It’s good for the economy alright, but it just has a different vibe. There are people from 15 different cultures working at the market coming together, so the market’s not just about the food.”
By Craig Kinsella