I seem to have written a piece about Moore Street in Dublin every four to six months or so, since my last visit there. As the (de)construction looms ever closer, it has happened a bit more frequently. The protection of Moore Street is one of my favorite Irish causes, and I spend a good deal of time reading through mind-numbing transcripts and watching videos and news from afar as the government tries to weasel a new mall or hotel into what should be a sacred and protected space.
There’s a fight raging in Dublin over the few historic, urban battleground sites that still remain. These locations have dwindled drastically over the last hundred years as big industry takes hold in Ireland. There are plaques all over the city, noting the historical significance of what used to exist on that spot – but many of the buildings and businesses are gone and they’ve been replaced by something new, or worse – they’ve been removed altogether.
Finally, the Dublin City Council decided to actually vote on the Moore Street dilemma. They have been putting it off as the contention grew to palpable levels and more and more people got involved in the process. At issue was an opaque “Land Swap” which was an idea that involved a lot of special interests, veiled corruption and back room deals – but in the end, the deal was finally defeated yesterday.
There have been a lot of ups and downs, questions, and contentious debates in Dublin regarding just what to do with Moore Street. It is home to one of the only outdoor produce and farmer’s markets left in the city, it is a magnet for black market cigarette sales and it is an historical gem that should never be lost. All around the area, you can find shopping centers, malls, restaurants, and hotels rising into the sky, dwarfing the historically significant buildings and edging out the market, little by little. There’s been talk of development and yet another mall, hotel or shopping center, despite how many are already there.
Historically it needs to be preserved. This is where the soldiers trapped in the burning GPO made their escape in 1916. The alley they ran through is a shady spot – some people have witnessed drug sales and shakedowns of various degrees. It’s not the best area – but what back alley is? The buildings above the market, where the escapees busted through walls for at least half a city block are ramshackle and almost entirely empty. Everyone knows something has to be done about them, but no one can agree what that thing is.
On the off chance you are in Dublin this weekend, or you have the ear of an Irish politician, you should help protect Moore Street. It is home to one of the only outdoor markets left in Dublin, but aside from that it is also where the rebels of 1916 made their last stand and escape from the GPO before surrendering to stop civilian casualties. Developers want to replace all that history and street vending with another mall, though there are more than a few in the area and more hotels. Stand up and link arms for history, street vendors, farmers and locals. You can find more information via these 2 links