There is nothing finer than stumbling across the local market on your travels. To experience the local food produce, fresh baked goods and crafts brings that joyful experience for anyone keen to connect with the travels in a meaningful way.
Markets in Ireland are well-known for their artisan products, and old-school vintage finds. They are an excellent way to shop local and to support independent traders, and also just a splendid way to spend an afternoon.
Here is list of some more off-the-beaten-track market options for those who want to venture outside the more famous spots.
The English Market
Cork city’s indoor English Market is arguably the best known and most popular food market in the entire country. As one of the world’s oldest municipal markets, dating back to 1788, it’s equal parts local amenity and historical attraction, even warranting a visit by Queen Elizabeth II on her state visit to Ireland. The emphasis here is on fresh produce: the vast majority of traders deal in meat, fish, fruit, vegetables and other perishables. There are also deli stalls serving sandwiches, cafés for enjoying a coffee and soak up the atmosphere and a smattering of stands selling art, crockery and other items.
Don’t leave without cacio cavallo cheese from Toonsbridge Dairy, available from the Real Olive Company stall.
HOURS: Mon–Sat: 8am–6pm
English Market, Princes St, Centre, Cork, Ireland,
+353 21 000 000
The Milk Market
Farmers’ Market, Market, Farm Shop, Irish, Vegan, Gluten-free, Vegetarian
A store in the MIlk Market, Limerick | © William Murphy/ Flickr
Limerick’s Milk Market dates back as far as 1852, when attempts were first made to consolidate the city’s wide array of separate markets into one main area. Today, the Milk Market on Mungret Street is still thriving and home to artisan traders selling the best local seafood, dairy products, preserves and other foodstuffs, as well as stalls of gifts, clothing, crafts and bric-a-brac. Saturday is the flagship market day, but the market is also open on Fridays and Sundays. In the evenings, the Milk Market doubles as an entertainment venue and hosts live music and events.
Don’t leave without a home-baked bread from Country Choice.
HOURS: Fri: 10am–3pm, Sat: 8am–3pm, Sun: 11am–3pm
A stall at Galway Market | © Germán Poo-Caamaño / Flickr
Every Saturday all year round, Galway’s street market on Church Lane by St Nicholas’ Church welcomes hundreds of stalls of arts and crafts such as handmade jewellery and prints and, of course, lots and lots of food. Fresh breads, falafel, the famous Sheridans cheese and much, much more call out to be tasted. A tourist highlight and local mainstay, the market is open all weekend in July and August, and all week long during Galway Arts Festival. Don’t leave without a BoyChik donut. HOURS: Sat (all year round), Fri, Sun, bank holidays (July–August): 8am–6pm
St George’s Market, Belfast
Fish at St George’s Market, Belfast | © Ardfern / Wikimedia Commons
Voted 2016’s Best Market in Observer Food Monthly Awards, the Victorian St George’s Market building in Belfast dates back to the 1890s, but a Friday market has been held on the same site since as early as 1604. The Friday Variety Market boasts around 250 stalls and is known as one of the best retail fish markets in the country, Saturdays are for the City Food and Craft Market, and the Sunday Market blends the best of both worlds. A free market shuttle bus runs to and from the city centre regularly on Friday and Saturdays. St George’s also hosts several extremely popular evening Twilight Markets throughout the year, with live music and cooking demonstrations taking place alongside the standard markets. Don’t leave without a bowl of seafood chowder from Chowder Up! HOURS: Fri: 6am–3pm, Sat: 9am–3pm, Sun: 10am–4pm
Strandhill Peoples’ Market (Sligo)
Strandhill People’s Market
Hangar 1, Sligo Airport, Strandhill, Co. Sligo.
Bullring Market – one of the best markets in Ireland
Credit: @TheBullringMarketWexford / Facebook
Address: Bullring, Wexford Town, Co. Wexford.
Copper Coast Market, Waterford
Chia Bia Carpark, Unit 1, Riverstown Business Park, Tramore, Co. Waterford.
Mother Jones Flea Market, Cork
Mother Jones’ (often simply called Cork Flea Market)
Corner of McCurtain & York Street, Cork City, Co. Cork.