Newswire » Local News » Major Restoration Works Finally Commence At Iveagh Markets

Major Restoration Works Finally Commence At Iveagh Markets

Major Restoration Works Finally Commence At Iveagh Markets:

By: Aidan Crowley:

Major restoration works have finally commenced at the historic Iveagh Markets building on Francis Street in the Liberties. The protected structure, which was gifted to the people of Dublin by Edward Cecil Guinness of the famous brewing family, in 1906, closed in 1996 and has been left derelict ever since.

The ownership of the iconic building has been the subject of legal proceedings since 2019. In 1997, publican and hotelier, Martin Keane, secured a 500-year lease on the building with a Euros 2 million tender. He aimed to develop the site into an eclectic food market complex, with adjacent restaurants, hotel and music venue.

The businessman was granted planning permission for the redevelopment in 2007. However, works failed to commence and the planning permission was renewed in 2012. After a second failure in the commencement of works, DCC announced that they would repossess the building in 2018.

The ongoing legal dispute which is before the High Court, involves three parties, namely, Mr. Keane, Lord Iveagh, the successor of the original owner and DCC. In late 2022, DCC secured possession of the building, amid concerns over the major deterioration of the historic structure.

An architectural report by Howley Hayes Cooney Architects for DCC on 2019, found that the building was in an advanced state of dereliction and unsafe. This was due to a combination of serious neglect and what it described as “several damaging interventions”.

Multiple reports have stated that the structure can be saved, but at a huge cost. It is now estimated that simply repairing the building alone could cost up to Euros 30 million.

The works, which are being carried out on behalf of Dublin City Council (DCC), will include the removal of loose materials, the installation of safe access routes and crash decks and the removal of wild vegetation.

Armagh-based, Francis Haughey Building Contractors, have been appointed to undertake these initial works which are expected to take eight weeks to complete.

Following the completion of the Stage One preparation works, the restoration project’s Integrated Design Team will gain full and safe access to all areas of the building. This will allow them to complete the detailed design process and prepare tender documentation for a complete repair and restoration programme.

The detailed restoration programme will include extensive repairs to roofs, valleys and rainwater disposal systems. It will also embrace the protection and securing of windows and doors, the securing of structural columns which have been exposed and the repairing of walls and parapets.

The initial works also provide for the removal of lead paint throughout the structure and the provision of safe access to all parts of the building, facilitating regular inspection and maintenance.

The Stage Two repair works of the restoration project are scheduled to begin in the last quarter of this year and are likely to take between twelve and eighteen months to complete. This means that the full repair and restoration of the Iveagh Markets building would not likely be completed until mid to late 2025.

Meanwhile, there were genuine concerns expressed that the main structure of the building had rapidly deteriorated over the winter months, with sections of the roof collapsing, as the historic structure lay in an advanced state of disrepair. One recent update has stated that a dedicated design team will oversee an initial phase of roof restoration.

However, the conservation experts working on the restoration programme have, so far, discovered that the building’s main structure is generally in good condition, despite part of the roof collapsing.

Despite this, components of the roof structure, such as timbers, slates and large areas of glazing, will need to be replaced. This will be the main focus of the works to be undertaken, over the next year.

A spokesperson for the Friends of the Iveagh Markets, a local campaign group, said that having recently met with the Project Manager, Donncha O’ Dulaing and DCC, they learned that the building is “structurally in better condition than expected”.

“Friends of the Iveagh Markets will be delighted and relieved to see the essential remedial works necessary to preserve the Iveagh Markets for future generations finally begin in earnest. Let us hope these timelines are achieved”, they said.

The restoration project team proposes to publish regular bulletins on the programme’s progress, to keep the local community up-to-date.

The structural damage to the building’s roof has acted as a catalyst for the commencement of the well-overdue repair and restoration works. The Government has made Euros 9 million available through the Urban Development & Regeneration Fund to save and restore the roof, as part of a wider preservation of the building. Meanwhile, DCC has pledged a further Euros 3 million to the restoration programme.

When completed, the entire building will be made structurally sound and watertight, but will still require refurbishment of its external walls and brickwork, in addition to the revamping of its interior.

Local councillors have voted in favour of the markets building being retained in public ownership. Another local campaign group, Reclaim the Iveagh Markets, says that not doing so runs against the principles of local democracy. Fergal Butler and Andy O’Connell, who are members, are very enthusiastic about the potential of a fully-restored, publicly-owned market for rejuvenating the area. “The local people are not being listened to”, they said.

Local Sinn Fein Councillor, Maire Devine, said that a lot more work will need to be done, before it can function as a commercial building again.

“For its future, we’re getting remedial work and we’ll get more robust work done later on. In the meantime, we need to start a public consultation and that consultation is about how the future will look for this fabulous building”, she said.

“Nothing about this must happen without the traders that still are around and their families and the local community”, she added.

“Dublin City Council and Mr. Keane can squabble over the ownership and let the thing die and that’s what’s been happening for, what, two decades at least. Morally, it belongs to the people of the area, the traders. It was built for them”, she continued.

In the long-term, Councillor Devine hopes that the Iveagh Markets can, once again, become a thriving place of commerce and trade, much like Cork’s English Market or Belfast’s St. George’s Market.

“The vision is trading, it is food, it’s music events, it’s opening it up for longer hours and getting more multi-purpose use of that fabulous space. You can imagine what it would be like to listen to music down there, to shop and eat. So, it would be a really great destination, not just for tourists, but also for visitors from Ireland and also our local population”, she concluded.




Leave a Reply

© 1991-2014 Fountain Resource Group Ltd. · Registered Company Number: 193051C · RSS · Website designed by Solid Website Design