Limerick Market Reopens

New life in old haunt

The Milk Market reopened today, and I must say I’m impressed.

Like a lot of people, I had my doubts about the project, but it works, and it works well.  The place seems  about ten times as big as it used to, now that all the vans and cars are gone, and I think a lot of the traders are feeling  optimistic about it.  There was  fair amount of doubt in their minds, but that’s understandable, and now that they’ve seen the place in operation, I think they’re going to like it.

The general public certainly grabbed it with both hands.  I’ve never seen a buzz like today’s.

Here’s a few pics for you.


And here’s our own Val

56 thoughts on “Limerick Market Reopens

  1. Absolutely amazing photographs – you’ve captured the atmosphere on the peoples faces perfectly. And the shots of the structure show it off beautifully. Well done! I must say I was apprehensive about the new roof too but when I saw it today and the whole new market in action I was seriously impressed. Nothing was lost and lots extra was gained. Its a credit to its designers and builders.

  2. Definitely looks really well and much much bigger , Atmosphere was great !! anyone know if its goig to be open now more then just saturday morning ?

  3. I’m not of the same opinion BOCK.
    I found it (the tent) blocked out the sunlight and darkened the space significantly. I found that it was quite noisy and a bit stuffy as the tent appears to capture sound and reflect it back in to the whole space. This was evident particularly when I exited to the music outside Marie’s coffee place.
    The traders won’t complain however and I don’t blame them either because they made a lot of money today, I hope that continues for all of them. But eventually I believe many of them will e wearing ear plugs; if they’re sensible.
    Superb photographs though.

  4. Jaysus, Unstranger, you seem to be looking for something to moan about. It is beautiful and anything that helps generate more revenue for the traders has to be a good thing. Of course the canopy blocks out the sunlight. That’s what canopies do.
    Excellent pics Bock.

  5. P.S. yer wan on the balcony in the white pants in pic 20 has a fuckin killer arse. Sorry but I just had to point that out.

  6. I really liked it, as an infrequent visitor to the market due to work i thought it was quiet impressive. I think when they start having concerts there it will really come into it’s own.

  7. Superb pics.
    I especially like the one of the balcony where most of the photo shows the lines of the roof.
    The clip of Mick Dolan and his wife is a good one too.

    Didn’t make it to market until 3.45pm when the last of the stalls were packing up. Some stall holders were complaining that they had to bring all their stuff to their vans outside the market. Others said the rent at €100 a day would discourage those stall holders who don’t make much.

    I look forward to seeing what it will be like in winter with the lights on.

  8. Unstranger WTF? 2 million spent on a positive project in Limerick and you complain about light and noise. The revenues and jobs created by this new venue will offer welcome relieve to a city that is regularly shat on. Nothing is perfect but the atmosphere today was hugly positive and the feedback from traders was excellent, except from the poor mites that had to transport their stock back to waiting vans. Perhaps we should concentrate on out of town malls where the car is king and the city centre is derelict. Well done to all involved in this renovation a very welcome boost for Limerick

  9. Great photos bock, is it my imagination, or is the spire off center? if you look at it from Nancy’s door it looks like it’s leaning to the left, it still looks great though

  10. I was just wondering how stormproof the structure is, it looks like the wind could get underneath the canopy. I suppose that remains to be seen! Very nice pictures Bock.

  11. Great photos. I think Limerick needed a renewed Milkmarket for a long time. Could we please try to resuscitate the rest of the city centre now? If more people copped on and bought their stuff from local farmers, traders, etc., instead of buying crap from the multi-chain stores outside the city, we might make this old beautiful city better. Nobody outside the larger Limerick cares about Limerick. If we want Limerick to be good, we need to make it good. Nobody else will.

  12. @Bock, I am a long time reader of your site and I never made a coment before. Great pics and the market looks great too.

    I would like to ask, are you and Unstranger the same person, and do you make up his comments to cause arguments? I have never seen him say a single positive thing about anything. If you are not Unstranger, I would like to ask, Unstranger, is there anything in this life you enjoy or does it all get on your nerves? Are you upset the whole time? Could you not once in a while find something good to say?


  13. I preferred it as it was….the gain is minimal, the space is steralized …..the architecture was done about 20 years ago on the European continent….modern my arse !

  14. The designer of this scheme is German …his name is Peter….he is Michael Healy’s Dad in law

  15. Makes me wish for such a market in my area of the world. Being a small town (they call it a “city” though) on the shores of a beautiful 31 mile long lake that extends into Canada this is just the thing we should have. We have the usual farmers markets and such but nothing like the revamped market in your photos.

    Must invent a type of instant transportation device so my wife an I can pop over occasionally. Just for ourselves mind you otherwise everyone would be popping in for a visit and you’d have more tourists than you could possible shoot.

  16. When I asked how I could forward this page to a friend I was kinda hoping you’d give me a big red push-button on the top of the page instead of the old fashioned ‘cut and paste web address thingie’! Great website but you really need a big (huge so I can see it without bothering to look!!) red push button so I can tell all my friends… the lazy way!! :-)

  17. Great photos Bock. They could have done with a bit of a band there. A nice bit of jazz would have been the job. love it tho..good for the city.

  18. i was really impressed with the finished layout. thought the sound/noise really created a great atmosphere. reminded me of markets i visited in england and spain

  19. Kellie — I believe it’s going to open Friday, Saturday and Sunday for now.

    BFH — Are you sure the rent is that high? I don’t think so.

    Ronwan — It depends what you mean by off-centre. It isn’t vertical, but then what in nature is?

    Heedy — I’d be interested to see what happens in a giant storm.

    Rob — There’s no doubt this will cause division. I wonder if the design community are debating it on any forum?

    Kirk — We don’t shoot tourists anmy more. We’re too poor these days. What about a few pics of your town?

    Daz — Agreed. A band would have been appropriate for the opening day.

  20. great photos,was there on sat with my 3 year old,he did nt mind the noise,nor did i.had a coffee and cake there ,and watched the world go by for a few mins,its a great improvement,the town needs it.

  21. Love the photos. I just missed the opening day and i too strolled through taking in the end of the day as the traders were nearly all packed up. I’m delighted to see this has finally come through, and would love to see it done in Clare as well. It is a bit expensive though, for the smaller stallers, as i had looked into it also. It can cost up to €50 plus VAT, plus Stall rental = €74. for Saturdays and Sundays. It is far more reasonable during the week days, but I’m not sure if that is in operation yet. However, it is encouraging, and great to see so many attended.

    I went to the East Way Market near the NCT center yesterday, it was buzzing, a great spot and very reasonable rates too. Hopefully i can pull the finger out and get some creations together and make me a few bob!

  22. Was Peter (guy in the tux) singing? I’ve heard him in Galway and he’s brilliant.

    Speaking of Galway – they really need to take a look at this place and think about upgrading the Market there. It’s lovely, but a killer to try to get through.

  23. i don’t think the sunday fee is as dear as €74 nevie. what sort of stuff do you make by the way?

  24. Fine Pics Bock. I did’nt get down until about 2pm and still a good crowd there.
    I think they did a fine job of it and the roof tea-shop is a good idea.
    I miss the cobblestones ok, a trader told me they were only put in place in the 18th century, still miss ’em but no big deal.
    #11 ronwan had a good question that was’nt really answered tho.
    I have thought that too, Why is the tent crooked or off centre? I have No interest in tearing anyone
    a new asshole over it,
    Just wondering,
    Its the 1st thing that i thought of when i 1st saw it a few weeks ago.

  25. Go raibh míle, Bock, for da fotografic documentary of da Re-Openin….

    ( i was hopin i’d b able to witness it too, tho not in person nor on da same day…)

    it is exciting… evryone awaits to see how dis ting or dat one will affect their new space… i hope it rises to d’ocassion!

    i mite try buskin around d outside .. (Walls of Limerick market—
    isn’t ther a dance of d same name? “Balla na Luimní” ?)

    i just skipd down reading evry single comment & it’s great readership u have… most ppl replying or responding to others’ comments…
    only 1 comment i felt compelld to reply to:

    “Nobody outside the larger Limerick cares about Limerick. If we want Limerick to be good, we need to make it good. Nobody else will.”

    Well, i live in east Clare, and over time .. in an unorthodox fashion, hav gotten to kno (or feel i do)
    Limerick…. and i care about it. .. i’m not ashamed to speak up for an Luimneach if some1 says somethin unfair abt The Treaty County. And i have. on mor dan 1 ocassion! So there now.

    * if any body’s intrestd, one of the songs i sing has had a very interesting (well to me!) journey from its inception til a cupla days ago at the Clare county Fleadh… Limerick being a star player. So say what u will, anybod, Limrick holds a special place in my mantel of stars (or, blessings). *

    Go raibh míle maith agat.

  26. I was hoping for a definition, because so many people have complained about the orientation of the tent pole. I don’t know why everything has to be vertical and horizontal.

  27. of course things should not have to be horizontal or vertical,,,maybe it is leaning into the prevailing winds.
    Reminds me of the visitor centre at King Johns castle when it was built, early nineties, many were “appalled” by that horrible “modern” addition.
    Like it or lump it, it is there now and storms permitting, it will stay.
    I like it, and I like it even more if I think it annoys conformists.
    We need to break a lot more rules and traditions

  28. It looks very nice but why are the women so fat?– hopefully because they have stopped smoking, in NY you see lots of Irish women who are in great shape, why are they so fat in Ireland?

  29. It is a bit askew but who cares..itll leave the bird shit slide off easier…It needs a nickname tho..The Bent Tent?..The Pole On A Roll?…

  30. Val, the name you have chosen is causing a bit of confusion because we already have a regular contributor of that name. Would you mind making some change so that people will be able to tell who’s who?

  31. Lets call this one: Val – jealous of Irish women. We’ve got curves Val.. it’s not called fat.
    I think you see bigger people in NY now in fairness.

    Ye’re fatter than us.. ha!

  32. It’s called an asymmetrical tent. Second cousin twice removed to the new asymmetrical bridges that are popping up here and there (There’s one in Boston, MA that I drive over every time I need to go to the Boston VA medical campus–lousy trip, beautiful bridge).

    Well, okay, it may not be officially called an asymmetrical tent but it sounds good doesn’t it?

  33. Spose asymmetric sounds better than slanty. Second cousin twice removed to the new asymmetric bridges? He’s a cousin of the bridges? :)

  34. Wow Wow what a fantastic positive food and all things real to limerick was with peter and mary ward up there on opening saturday…. drove home to kinsale full up with plants flowers eggs spuds olive oil cheese a real flavour of the markets abundance of seasonality , a paridise for me and so worth a visit. Any one could pose as a domestic goddess having shopped there.

  35. Wouldn’t fancy gettin on any those slanty bridges myself Kirk.. :) Some things just need to be straight.

  36. A chailín deas — I nearly forgot you. Peter certainly did sing before heading off to his normal pitch.

  37. In looking at comments above, as the project architects we hugely appreciateive of the very positive feedback on the project. In looking to answer some of the items rasied above, i would comment as follows.

    Design Team.
    The project design was carried out by Healy & Partners Architects in Limerick. Apart from ourselves, the civil engineers (Reidy Dennany), M&E Engineers (Don O’Malley & Partners) and QS (ECP) are all Limerick based. We engaged the specialist engineering services of Schlaich Bergermannand Partner. These specialist engineers have been invloved in 5 stadiums in the current World Cup and our project engineer Christoph Paech is currently working in NY on Guggenheim Museum in Abu Dhabi and was the project engineer on the Madrid Memorial to those who lost their lives in the train bombings.

    Design Intention
    It was always our design intention to create an architectural solution which allowed the courtyard to be covered but still achieve an outdoor ambiance. Given that there was rain in over 35 of the 52 Saturdays in 2007, the merit of erecting an umbrella was prudent. The project challange was to erect the tensile structure without touching the existing buildings.

    The client intention is to convert the Milk Market for a half day Saturday (5 day surface car park) to a full time Market growing from Markets on F,S & S along with special Christmas markets, Arts & Crafts etc. We also feel it is usable as a place for civic cermony, for music etc and the services are in place to accommodate this.

    Main Mast

    the engineer summary of the slope to the main mast is as follows…
    The conic geometry of the membrane is realised by an eccentrically aligned mast with a height of approx. 24 m and four lower points close to the corners of the courtyard. The geometry of the canopy is developed to increase the covered area as much as possible but also to provide enough space above the new mezzanine and other parts of the courtyard. The canopy structure was developed in such a way that there is no penetration of the historic building of the courtyard. The very light roof structure is made out of light tensile materials and elements such as membrane and cables combined with compression elements (masts, struts), and is therefore well optimized in terms of material efficiency. Due to the high translucency of chosen membrane material the courtyard will be naturally illuminated on the one hand but also protected against rain and direct sun on the other hand.

    The canopy consists of a PVC coated Polyester membrane. The membrane is stressed between the steel head ring that is suspended by steel cables from the central mast and four catenary cables as the outer edges. The catenary cables are spanning approx. 45 m from one corner to the other. To reduce the membrane stresses and to avoid ponding, the membrane is additionally supported for downward acting forces by 12 slip cables that are aligned in the membrane surface and span between the canopy head ring and the catenary cables. The corners points of the canopy structure are supported each by an inclined strut that is suspended and stabilized by two tension ties.

    The four edge points of the structure and the position of the mast in plan describe the most significant geometrical boundary conditions of the tensile structure. By a computer based form-finding process the cone geometry was developed in such a way that equilibrium of the tensile stresses within the membrane is present and the resulting forces at the top of the cone will be supported by the mast, which is able to rotate around its base point. Due to the fact that the mast base point is offset from the centre point of the cone geometry, equilibrium for the forces can only be realized by an inclined mast. Therefore the main mast is leaning approx. 4 degree to balance the forces in the membrane structure.

    The architectural summary is that the mast is held in place by the membrane, the courtyard is not square on plan and one side of the tensile structure is two storeys high. All our design development drawings indicated a sloped mast and we feel it works well. The mast slopes becasue it can!

    The site was brought back from being derelict by Murray O’Laoire Architects in the early to Mid 90’s. The courtyard was covered in that time with a Roadstone Concrete pavior and not in cobbles as has been referred to. The use of granite cobbles along the main circulation route, in front of market house and over the line of the old city wall at the bottom of the courtyard define these notable areas.

    Stormproof & Fabric
    Fingers crossed, but the structure is designed to survive a 50year storm. The tension loading being transferred at the four corners are very significant (120tonnes per cable). On stormy days the tensile structure should not show any substantial movement.
    The tensile fabric has a standard life warranty as avaialble for all roofing products. The membrane as made by Ferrari is fire resistent and teflon coated. It is envisaged that it will be required to be washed down once every seven or so years.

    While I appreciate not all are happy with our design solution, we are hugely encouraged by the overwhelming positive response. Enjoy!

    Richard Rice, Architect
    Healy & Partners Architects

  38. Thanks for that information lads. When I was a kid, I remember stone cobble-setts but they were ripped up years ago, and there was no value in the rubbishy concrete cobble-lock paviors people are complaining about. I’d like to think those cobbles came from the Longstone quarry that also sent setts to pave the streets of Edinburgh.

    I love the off-centre tent pole. It forces people to react, and it’s amazing how rigid people are about wanting everything vertical and horizontal. However, your explanation that it had to be off-centre for geometric reasons is stretching things a bit. In fact it’s bordering on nonsense. The apex of the canopy doesn’t know what way the pole is leaning and it doesn’t care. It just knows it wants to be held up. It’s true that the structural member in that exact position needs to be leaning to balance out the forces, but if it had been moved a bit it could have been vertical.

    Don’t take that as a criticism. I like it the way it is and the structure works very well in my opinion. It’s very light and honest and it tells you exactly how it works. But come here a minute. Tell the truth now: did somebody from the engineers write the bit about the mast and canopy? I bet they did. Architects say things like Vernacular and Language and Space and Statement. Engineers say things like Steel Head Ring and There Is No Penetration of the Historic Building. I could be wrong, mind you, but anyway, we at the Bockschloss offer a very reasonably-priced service turning tech-talk into plain English.

    One way or another, well done lads on a fine job.

  39. Richard Price,
    Appreciate you going to the trouble of sharing the design vision and background to the project.
    And congrats on an excellent project in terms of design, standard of workmanship and speed of erection.

  40. Richard Rice, thanks for the explanation and background. Great job and hats off to all concerned.

  41. I didn’t notice anywhere for the rain to run off to, unless it’s cleverly disguised…?

  42. Wow Bock amazing pics!! Unfortunately I missed the opening day as I was in Cork, but with your photos I can get a glimmer of how fantastic it was.
    As a trader on the Friday and Sunday market I have to say I’m delighted with the structure, it’s made going to work an absolute pleasure, no more will I be trading on the side of the street in rain, hailstones and snow. I was amazed at how airy it feels, and the ambience of the place seems to make the customers happier too, which is always good.

    No if we could just get some more customers on Friday and Sunday, hope you don’t mind Bock I’m just going to note the times for your lovely readers
    Friday: 11-7pm
    Saturday: 8-4pm
    Sunday: 11-4pm

    As for the comments about the price, I’m not sure what you’re readers info is but I’m certainly not being charged 100 euro. It’s 36 euro per day(including vat), which is a reasonable rate considering the space we are selling in.

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