Reply To: Visitors question: smithfield market?
The burners / standards are an architectural ‘feature’.
The square dates from 1640 although all of the original first lease buildings are long gone.
The few remaining buildings of any contextual importance remain not on the square but on north king street overlooking the north end of the square – these date from around 1730 to 1830 and really only constitute one (goodish) 1730’s house (refurcished in the 1770’s, one early house (circa 1700) with additional stories refurbished circa 1830 and two facade fragments possibly dating from around 1680.
The square would have originally been a very fashionable, expensive and desirable address, interestingly the market held on the square still survives as a (debased) monthly horse fair.
The local authority is keen to see the area gentrified hence the degree of demolition and the lack of conservation. It should be added that a number of highly ambitious modern developments are either underway or in the pipeline.
The layout of the square as shown is the result of an architectural competition won some three years ago by Mc Garry NiEanaigh – Drogheda based architects. Opinions are divided as to its efficacy – I don’t like the result myself – but it’s very popular among architects and architecture ‘groupies’ – so the verdict is pretty much in favour.
Most of the information pertaining to the actual space is available in Niall McCulloghs book ‘Dublin’ or Maurice Craigs magnum opus ‘Dublin 1600 to 1800’ (not sure of the correctness of the dates in that title).
[This message has been edited by James (edited 17 April 2002).]