A weekly farmer’s market takes place on Saturday mornings but David O’Mahony, chairman of the Limerick Market Trustees, said the new market will embrace a far wider range of market experiences featuring Irish and international experiences.
“For instance we have had talks with groups from Germany who have expressed an interest in getting an opportunity to showcase German food, drink and all kinds of other produce in a dedicated market event in Limerick,” he said.
“During the month of December we intend to have Christmas markets a few days every week.
“On particular days of the month, different market events will take place.”
While the farmer’s market will be retained and broadened, Mr O’Mahony said the new market area, which will be completed within 12 months, will provide a platform for many people involved in all kinds of ventures, ranging from antiques to entertainment to showcase what they have in a great setting.
Design plans have been given approval by Limerick City Council and An Bord Pleanála.
Mr O’Mahony said it was expected that they will proceed to tender shortly and that funds are in place.
Mr O’Mahony said the non-profit making Market Trustees body embarked on the new market concept six years ago. It had become “fed up” seeing the existing market area used as a car park, except on Saturday mornings.
“Our job is to run markets and not car parks. At present the Milk Market opens for just six hours every Saturday. We want to capitalise on the good market that is there on Saturday and we researched other markets around Europe and sought out what market advisers were available in Ireland or elsewhere,” he said.
“We selected a panel of companies to tender for specific market advice and we chose one from Britain, called Quarterbridge. They produced a business plan and raised a number of key issues which needed to be addressed. That plan was endorsed in 2004 by the trustees.”
The design by Limerick architects Michael Healy & Partners features a canopy type cover, being made in Germany, which will still give the market an open-air atmosphere. There will be about 50 flexible stalls, along with a restaurant area that will seat 120 customers.
“It will be a must-visit location within the city,” Mr O’Mahony said.