Monday, December 8, 2014

First Frugal Guide Dublin Supplement

The first-of-many supplemental posts for The Frugal Guide: Dublin is now available on Five Suitcases. In it, I explore Moore Street, one of Dublin's little seedy (but relatively safe) secrets near the busy shopping district of Henry Street.

Dubliners know Moore Street's reputation well, and I've seen many a "respectable" person buying the smuggled tobacco from the unscrupulous crooks patrolling the cobbled street. In the article, I comment,
If you are wondering why the police don't monitor this infamous corner of small-time crooks, you clearly don't live in Ireland.
And I mean that sincerely. Clearly there is crime (small-time, of course) happening at all hours of the day and night here, but I've seen Gardai (Irish police officers) actively avoid walking near Moore Street as they patrol Henry Street. Are they more concerned with the heavy rate of shoplifting and crowd control on Henry Street? Maybe.

But the small-time crooks have always left us alone when we've visited Moore Street during the day. We love visiting the seriously-cheap fruit and veg stands, especially when making applesauce, where bruised, mealy apples really shine. I also recommend a daytime walk through Moore Street in my book as a free (and safer) look at the grittier side of the city without aimlessly poking around Sheriff Street at midnight.


Just so you know I'm not farming for your clicks, the full text of the Moore Street supplement article is below, but feel free to visit Five Suitcases, share the link, comment, etc.

Moore Street: Dublin's Shady-but-Beautiful Market

Dublin's near-the-river north side is known for three things: history, petty crime, and shopping. O'Connell Street and Parnell Square just about corner the market on the history front; the General Post Office and O'Connell Statue are riddled with bullet holes from previous conflicts, including the unsuccessful-but-pivotal 1916 Easter Rising, and the Garden of Remembrance pays tribute to those who fought for Irish freedom.

Henry Street -- the packed, pedestrian-only passage heading west from the Spire of Dublin -- is the beating heart of Dublin's retail economy. Move over, Grafton and the Creative Quarter, Henry has it by a mile. Huge shopping centers and small storefronts battle for business amid costumed characters (like local favorites Super Mario Busker and Spider-Man), and the consumers just can't get enough.

Just off of the busy Henry scene, the shopping and petty crime collide on Moore Street, one of Dublin's most unique (and infamous) little markets.

Moore Street Fruit and Veg Market
Moore Street Fruit and Veg Market

Every day, local merchants set up carts and stalls selling a range of foods and household goods. I like to check out the almost-suspiciously-cheap fruits and vegetables, but vendors do a good business selling cleaning products, paper towels, and hardware, too.

Occasionally, a fish stall emits a certain pungency into the street (and the hapless indoor Ilac Shopping Centre, which has an entrance nearby). Seen at this stall one hot summer day: A seagull grabbed a particularly nice-looking salmon fillet when the barker was busy. The happy bird dropped the fillet on the street and began to pick away at the soft, delicious meat. Upon discovering this thievery of an expensive cut of fish, the barker shooed away the gull, picked up the fillet, and put it right back on display.

This is just some of the, um, folksy charm of Moore Street. Every day, trench-coated figures call out, "Cigarettes, tobacco! Cigarettes, tobacco!" as they sell illegal tobacco, usually from Eastern Europe or Central Asia, to canny smokers looking to skirt the tobacco tax. Some bold crooks try to unload stolen smartphones, a warning to Dublin visitors and residents alike to hold on to their valuables.

If you are wondering why the police don't monitor this infamous corner of small-time crooks, you clearly don't live in Ireland.

But should you visit Moore Street? Absolutely! Daytime visits are a great way to see some of the "real" city without venturing too far away from City Centre into the rough neighborhoods of Dublin, which I don't recommend doing.

If cheap fruit and vegetables don't tickle your fancy, the brick-and-mortar shops on the street might. A number of international markets representing Asia, Africa, and the Middle East line the street on both sides, right next to the big discount supermarket chain Lidl. The famous butcher F.X. Buckley sells high-quality meats, conventional and unusual, from its brightly-lit shop near the Henry Street intersection.

If you are strolling on the north side, take a few minutes to explore this little slice of decidedly-non-touristy Dublin. Enjoy some cheap fruit, but check your fish fillets for beak marks!

For Moore more on Moore Street, Henry Street, and the rest of the Northside Shopping District, check out City Centre North in my free eBook, The Frugal Guide: Dublin.  

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