Monday 19 August 2019

'I depend on it every year, where do I go now?' – traders 'devastated' after Dublin Christmas Flea Market confirms closure

Dublin trader Alison Lowndes Barker of 'A Little Idea'
Dublin trader Alison Lowndes Barker of 'A Little Idea'

Gabija Gataveckaite

Dublin traders have been left reeling following the confirmation of the closure of the annual Dublin Flea Christmas market.

Organisers of the market confirmed that the festive event will not go ahead this year due to "insufficient infrastructure and support" for the event.

Speaking to, trader Alison Lowndes Barker, who is originally from Tallaght but lives in Dublin 8, said that the market helped her business survive through the quieter winter months.

"I depend on it every year, it gets me through the few quiet months," she said. 

The Christmas Flea Market was home to over 280 stalls and ran each December. Last year, it took place over two weekends, due to popularity.

Alison sells hair accessories, greeting cards and jewellery, which she designs and makes herself.

"Throughout the year, I look forward to it and plan for it and ensure I have enough stock to get through it.

"Without the flea, my business wouldn’t be where it is now and I have a lot to thank for it," she added.

"It’s my baby, it’s how I make a living."

The Dublin Flea market was held monthly in Newmarket Square until it had to be moved due to construction works in 2018. The market is now hosted as a pop up shop in the Digital Hub in Thomas Street, but it remains to find a permanent home.

However, the annual Christmas market was the largest event for the organisers and Alison said that the event attracted people internationally.

"It’s such a shame that councillors aren’t fighting for the markets, we’re meant to be a city of culture," she said.

"It's devastating."

"It's definitely a concern now- where will I go now? I was thinking of going to London or another city in Europe for the Christmas season," she said.

Organisers broke the news yesterday with a statement on its website.

"Sadly we have come to the heavy realisation that, at this time, there is insufficient infrastructure and support for an event of this type and scale in Dublin city," the statement read.

According to the statement, the market received over 600 submissions to trade from all over the country in 20018 and attracted 73,000 people.

The organisers are set to campaign for a new venue to host the market.

"We will be refocusing our energy in the coming weeks into lobbying local and central government, asking them to acknowledge that this city is in dire need of more cultural and event spaces.

"We will be working on a proposal and a petition to gather ideas and support for this campaign," the statement added.

According to Alison, the last couple of years have been tough for Dublin traders, with other smaller markets having closed in the capital.

"It has been a rough couple of years as people now shop online and buy stuff cheaply on Amazon," she said.

"But there are people that are reverting back to markets and are willing to support Irish businesses.

"Insurance costs also cause such a huge financial risk for the organisers."

The Dublin Flea Christmas Market previously took place at the Point Shopping Centre in Dublin’s city centre.

The Point Shopping Centre did not reply to requests for comment at time of publication.

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