Sunday, November 25, 2012

CHQ, Dublin's English Market??

I am fascinated by the CHQ building which overlooks the Liffey in the docklands. It was restored beautifully some years back by the DDA and reborn as yet another shopping centre with all sorts of doomed retail outlets which soon shut down. I estimate that currently over 75% of the units are lying empty.

I think it could be easily re-branded as the Dublin equivalent of Cork's brilliant English Market, that foodie heaven that even the Queen has visited. It could be filled with market stalls, kitchen shops, cafes and even a cookery school. It could become the ultimate showcase of Ireland's ever improving, indigenous food industry.

The currently empty central aisle of the building could accommodate areas for communal dining and space for several food carts maybe housed in airstream caravans or beach huts. It could have the casual vibe of an indoor farmers market along the lines of the famous Burough Market in London.

Ever since I moved to Dublin in 2000 it seems that people have been talking about the need for such a market in Dublin. The Iveagh Market in the Liberties often gets mentioned as a location for such an enterprise. I think the fruit market near Smithfield has also been suggested. Both of these buildings would need a huge amount of work before they could re-open, an investment the country cannot currently afford.

CHQ has already been restored at an enormous cost, it could immediately rebrand itself as an indoor market with minimal investment. CHQ is now the property of NAMA which means that it is technically owned by the public. It would be amazing if it could be reappropriated as something the city actually wants and needs rather than languishing in its current state of redundancy.

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