Moore Street Market, centrally located near Dublin’s O’Connell Street, yet somehow hidden away, is one of the Irish capital’s gems. If you are planning to visit something "typical Dublin," you cannot go wrong with Moore Street. From Monday to Saturday dozens of market traders set up their rickety stalls, many of them specializing in fruit, vegetables, and flowers. Thrown in is an odd fishmonger, just for that distinctive smell.
Then the calls ring out—"Fresh Straaaahberrs ... only a Euro!" "Big bags of apples, big bags of apples, get two ferra fiver!" "Banaaaaanas, banaaaaaaaaaanas!" And so on. And it all is fresh. In between, you will find the odd person shuffling about, muttering something about "Bacco ... cigretts ..."
The permanent shops next to the stalls, lining the road in partially derelict, sometimes already condemned buildings, ranging from traditional Irish family butchers to German supermarket giant Lidl. There are dozens of small Asian and African shops filling the gaps. Get everything from bratwurst to sea cucumbers and poppadoms in one short street. And there is the (underground) Moore Street Mall as well.
Moore Street in a Nutshell
This is an original Dublin street market, complete with sharp-tongued stallholders and (sometimes) horse-drawn delivery carts. You will find bargain opportunities galore, and shops display a lively ethnic mix, predominantly Asian and African. Prices in Moore Street tend to be reasonable to low, and the typical Dublin banter is free.
On the other hand, some fresh produce may be for immediate consumption only. You also need to beware of slippery cobblestones due to squashed, very ripe fruit. The occasional less than legal trading (smuggled tobacco products at the top) seems to be going on fairly openly. Otherwise, this is a safe area (as usual in a market, beware of pickpockets—though they tend to be at the more touristy places in Dublin).
The street market, basically the only reason to visit Moore Street as a tourist, runs from Monday to Saturday, selling mainly fruit, vegetables, and flowers. It generally starts getting busy around 10 a.m. and stays in full swing until 3 p.m. or so, tapering out after that. Some deliveries are still made by horse-drawn cart, providing a colorful photo opportunity if you catch them in the act.
A large number of "ethnic" food shops (mainly Asian and Africa, but also some East European) provide truly cosmopolitan shopping opportunities—with rapidly changing stock and, occasionally, owners. Moore Street should be part of any walking tour of Dublin. For the "buzz" alone.
Enjoying a Slice of Dublin Life
Moore Street is as much a tourist attraction and photo opportunity as it is a big, lively, and international market. The street area with its market stalls has long been included in guidebooks on Ireland as an example of Dublin "in the rare auld times." And indeed some stalls (and stallholders) look like they have been transplanted here straight from Joyce's books. With some fishmongers bearing a resemblance to Molly Malone (if you have imbibed a Guinness or two).
Mind you, their language has a certain Joycean slant to it as well—stream-of-consciousness outpours, mixed with a thick Dublin accent, interspersed with attempts at advertising the catch of the day, are not unknown. Neither is the sharp-tongued wit of mostly female sellers. To be at the receiving end of it should be seen as an honor, not an insult.
Personnel in most of the streets more permanent. All is relative here, a few months count as "permanent." With the specter of redevelopment always looming in the background—some houses have now been earmarked for redevelopment as historic buildings connected to the 1916 Easter Rising) shops will, however, greet you with a linguistic mix of Babylonian proportions. Low rents and small units have made Moore Street into a haven for Asian and African entrepreneurs.
Indian spices by the pound, African vegetables, and frozen fish supposedly straight from the Yellow Sea—you name it, they sell it. And if you need a spare battery for your mobile (something the big companies don't bother with or charge an arm and a leg), many shopkeepers will see you right. As they will if you need some electronic repairs, unlocking of phones and so on.
Moore Street can get very crowded, so pickpockets are a risk at times. Though you are more likely to come to harm when slipping on the cobblestones courtesy of a squashed orange. You might land soft and warm. Morning deliveries are still occasionally made by horse and cart, "accidents" not always being cleared away immediately.
And one last warning: Fresh produce offered at the stalls may be very near its sell-by-date and often not kept for more than a day or two. Buy for fairly immediate consumption only!