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View from inside the Iveagh Markets. Michael Pidgeon

Repair work to roof of Iveagh Markets to begin later this month

A portion of its roof fell in last year.

REPAIR WORK TO the roof of the rundown Iveagh Markets in Dublin’s Liberties will begin later this month.

The Iveagh Market complex is a protected structure on Francis Street in The Liberties, Dublin 8 and was developed by the Guinness family in 1906. 

However, the market closed in 1996 and has been left derelict ever since.

Part of the roof collapsed last year and heritage group Friends of the Iveagh Markets warned that the entire building was at risk of collapse without repair works.

The work to be undertaken will focus on securing the crumbling structure rather than fully renovating it for reuse purposes, as the property is still at the centre of a legal dispute over its ownership.

The ongoing legal dispute began in 2019 and involves several parties, including developer Martin Keane, Arthur Edward Rory Guinness, and Dublin City Council.

In late 2022, Dublin City Council secured the Iveagh Markets amid concerns over the deterioration of the historic building.

This deterioration led to the government committing €9 million through the Urban Development and Regeneration Fund to restore the roof, as the first part of a wider renewal of the building

A further €3 million was then pledged by Dublin City Council, who appointed Howley Hayes Cooney Architects to oversee the initial phase of work to create a secure site and erect an internal scaffold and ‘crash decks’ to allow access to the roof of the building.

In a statement this week, the Liberties Business Area Improvement Initiative, a programme supported by Dublin City Council, announced that the initial phase of works would begin this month.

It will include extensive surveys of the roof and super structure, which have been difficult to access until now.

The Liberties Business Area Improvement Initiative said that the building has been assessed in recent months by Howley Hayes Cooney Architects.

It found that the main structure is in sound condition, as is the main ironwork supporting the work.

However, other elements of the roof such as timbers, slates and large areas of glazing all require replacement, and this will be the focus of the main works being undertaken next year.

Another area of concern is a large excavation in the centre of the market.

This excavation was undertaken in the early 2000s as part of archaeological exploration of the site.

The project will continue in phases over the next two years, with Phase 1 works to the roof beginning this month and continuing to the end of June.

When completed, the market will be made structurally sound and watertight, but will still require refurbishment of its external walls and brickwork, as well as the fitout of its interior. 

The Liberties Business Area Improvement Initiative noted that the future use of the Iveagh Market is also yet to be determined and added that “there remains the vexed issue of contested ownership and ongoing legal proceedings”.

In a statement, the group added: “Nevertheless, the beginning of the roof restoration project finally draws a line under the continued decline of the building and gives hope that the Iveagh Market will return to its place at the heart of The Liberties’ commercial life.”

A tender for the main restoration works will be issued later this year and it’s expected that this work will take around a year to complete.

The project team plans to publish regular bulletins on the progress of the project to keep the public informed. 

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