In recent years, Dublin has established itself on the global map as both a cosmopolitan and tech-savvy capital. Home to HQs like Google and Facebook, the city’s dynamic and diverse young workforce contribute to its pulsating and vibrant cultural scene.
And while it’s exciting to watch the city flourish in the digital age, it’s also refreshing to revisit parts of ‘old Dublin’ that have retained their old-school roots. Case in point - Moore Street; the historical quarter just minutes from Dublin’s iconic Spire, that inspired a Brendan O’Connor film, as well as some very interesting art. But more on that later…!
Home to an age-old fruit and veg market, Moore Street’s charm is in its people. Usually descended from a long line of merchant traders, the men and women selling their wares (which are delivered daily by horse drawn cart and include fruit, veg, flowers – and all manner of knick-knacks!) are friendly, incredibly witty, and always happy to chat to visitors or pose for photos. What’s more, their heavily-accented call to buy goods is nothing short of legendary!
Moore Street is also steeped in history, and features prominently in the story of Irish independence. A row of its terraced houses (numbers 14 – 17) were occupied by members of the Irish Volunteers during the 1916 Easter Rising. While attempting to hold off opposing British forces, the rebels proclaimed the Irish republic independent of the UK. Though the Irish Free State wasn’t established until 1922, the Rising is seen as a key moment in the nation’s story. Indeed, plans have just been confirmed to make these houses on Moore Street into a commemoration centre paying homage to the rebels. Watch this space!
Today on Moore Street, you’ll find an area of Dublin that’s always evolving, yet stays true to its wholesome trade roots. On the one hand, visitors are offered an authentic slice of ‘old Dublin’ in the form of local merchants. But the street also showcases how diverse and multi-cultural the city has become in recent years. As such, it offers a vibrant and colourful mixture of old and new. Local traders and shops, like traditional butchers FX Buckley (who feature in the lovely Dublin sign-painting documentary, Gentlemen of Letters, below) sell their tasty wares alongside the African, Indian and Chinese communities who’ve made the street their home, opening restaurants and stores along this bustling strip.
Gentlemen of Letters - A Dublin Sign Painting Film from Colin Brady on Vimeo.
Peckish? We heartily recommend a bite at the wonderfully-named Delhi O’Deli; which serves up tasty vegetarian Indian food for just €5. If it’s a coffee and pastry you’re after, look no further than the Paris Bakery. You’ll have to move fast though, as this charming café sadly may not be with us much longer. We advise you sample their wares while you can! Feeling more adventurous food-wise? 3sixty5 Restaurant serves up cuisine from Nigeria, South Africa and Botswana, while the Moore Street Mall sells a whole host of culturally-diverse foods, fashion, jewellery and beauty products. Around the corner you’ll find bustling Henry Street, home to a host of high-street clothes shops. On nearby Parnell Square meanwhile, there’s a beautiful sculpture inspired by mythical Irish tale, Children of Lir in the Garden of Remembrance, and across the street, the renowned Hugh Lane Gallery.
The allure of Moore Street has captured many Dubliners’ imaginations over the years. Brendan O’Carroll, writer of BATFA award-winning TV show Mrs. Brown’s Boys wrote the 1999 film Agnes Browne, a hit comedy which tells the story of a widowed Moore Street trader in 1967, played by Hollywood icon Anjelica Huston.
More recently, renowned Dublin street artist Maser paid homage to Moore Street’s unique culture. As part of design conference Offset’s #TransformYourCity campaign earlier this year, the mysterious Dubliner created a special ‘Give Moore Love’ tote bag dedicated to Moore Street’s local traders. Offset organiser Richard Seabrooke explained; “We identified Moore Street as one of the areas in the city that’s both historical and representative of ‘new Ireland’; it’s multicultural and all-embracing, the locals get on with the new arrivals – it’s a great mix of people. Maser, who’s very much a Dublin person, created this bag to encourage people to go down and explore.”
Hear hear! Should you fancy a stroll around the city-centre, we highly recommend you stop by this charming and historical area of Dublin’s inner-city.