A MAJOR development for one of the country’s oldest market places is set to commence within weeks.
The transformation of Limerick Milk Market, which dates back to 1852, is an extensive project due to be completed by early next year.
This follows the decision by Limerick City Council, and An Bord Pleanála to grant permission for the project to the Limerick Market Trustees, a non-profit group responsible for running markets throughout the city and environs.
David O’Mahony, the chairman of Limerick Market Trustees, said the project will cost in excess of €2 million and would “move quickly to implementation, once the tendering process is complete”.
“Our plan is to build upon the phenomenal success of our open air Saturday Milk Market, transforming it into an even more vibrant, enlarged, week-long market venue, which will be weather-proofed and will attract more shoppers and visitors into the heart of Limerick city,” he said.
“In advancing our plans, we are conscious that we are the guardians of a unique and historic market which dates back to 1852. Our plan will fully protect the integrity of the market and will make it a landmark city attraction.”
The redeveloped market will provide opportunities for more small traders to showcase diverse and local produce, from fresh and fine foods through to horticultural produce, crafts and fashions, continued Mr O’Mahoney.
The transformation plan incorporates a structure covering the Milk Market courtyard, protecting visitors from the elements. A mezzanine floor, to extend from the existing Market House will accommodate a restaurant overlooking the market.
Beneath this will be a number of permanent trading outlets that will typically sell speciality foods and beverages, in keeping with the market’s ethos.
“The dynamic of a market, where the stallholders sell what they produce direct to shoppers, is very special. It creates a buzz, an energy and a business stimulant that is just brilliant, particularly within a city centre. Our plans are to facilitate this ‘buzz’ by providing a more perfect environment for both the stallholders and the shoppers. We will also be promoting the market as a venue for a range of special events, complementary to the market, to add to its overall appeal and to the contribution the market will make to the city,” said Mr O’Mahony.
In the coming weeks the market trustees will be detailing the opportunities the market presents for specialist retailers, producers and event organisers.
The development will form part of the Limerick Market Trustees overall strategy for increasing markets in the city. It is hoped it will complement the Riverside market, which runs on Sundays from April to October on Bedford Row in Limerick city centre.