Sunday, 20 June 2010


An architects model of the
revamped Milk Market


I have to beg the indulgence of international Hermonites for this piece, as it concerns a relatively small patch of turf on my own doorstep here in Limerick city. The issues it raises though may concern many places outside of this country, as the grinding wheels of ‘progress’ roll relentlessly on ,often taking in their wake the essence and bedrock of our collective heritage. Sometimes advancement enhances a feature that has stood the test of time, but on occasion it becomes a blight on an otherwise satisfactory enterprise that has served people well down through the years.

A market trader in happier times

The newly revamped city Milk Market opened on Saturday and I took advantage of the beautiful sunny morning to pay a visit. What a huge disappointment the canopied market square is. The idea was to change an essentially open air market into one covered over with a tent-like roofing structure, and so make it suitable for use in all weathers.

The first thing that hit me as I walked in through the old main gate was the sheer volume of noise bounced between the canvas roof and the newly laid marble floor. Admittedly there was a huge crowd present for the opening, but even allowing for that ,the ‘noise’ was really intrusive.
The other thing that is immediately apparent, coming in from a glorious June morning ,is the absence of sunshine under the shade of the canvas covering

Musical harmony inside the old Milk Market

In fact I believe the ‘brains’ behind the Milk Market development may, in their zeal to expand the Market’s earning potential, have killed the goose that laid the golden egg. Entering the Milk Market now, has all the atmosphere and ambiance of entering yet another shopping mall.
An authentic piece of the Limerick social landscape has been destroyed and in its place is this raucous impostor. Having vandalised King Johns castle with the infamous ‘glass box’ the desecration continues with this latest piece of ‘official’ Limerick’s ‘damn the begrudgers’ policy of ’improvement’

Tom, Market musician perhaps
playing a lament for the old days

For this visitor the oasis of banter and chat that was the old City Market is no more, the gentle pace of local trade replaced by the greed of the trustees hell-bent on the destruction of another part of our cherished heritage.

Gerard O'Shea


Una Higgins said...

I couldnt agree more with you about the old market. I have shopped there for over 20 years but I'm afraid the old place has lost its magic and will not be seeing me in the future.

Harry Haller said...

The Mad dreams of some Become the Nightmares of others.

Dew of Hermon said...

Right on Harry ! That says it all...

Andrea said...

I am from America and have heard that Ireland believes us to be an example of how things could be successfully done - now, how true that is, I am not sure - you can't believe everything you read. I believe that we do have some very good ideas and I love my country, but we have commercialized everything and seem to be building on every ounce of land we can if we think it can turn a profit. Buildings go up, a business starts and a year later, that business ends, the building left to gather dust (sometimes they sit for years that way). What a waste. I realize that it's not this way everywhere in the US, but I believe we are so spoiled to the "Burger King" way of life - we feel entitled to have it our way when we want it. I am guilty of this myself - chocolate craving? drive to the local WalMart and grab what you want - it's open 24 hours. Even some of our fast food places are open for what they call "Fourth Meal" - a craving at midnight? go grab some fast food. Sorry - didn't mean to ramble. Thanks for the post - made me think!

Brian Mc said...

Andrea, The "Burger King" way of life, I am shocked! What happened to the "MacDonald" way of Life ??? Is nothing sacred?

Firieth Mystways said...

I think you're certainly right, Gerard and Andrea. I live in a U.S. city where it seems every third house and business is either abandoned, for sale, or for rent, and yet people continue to build new constructions even in this bad economy. I would *much* prefer that we retain and restore our old structures than replace them with new (and often uglier) buildings.