On November 29th, the Jenkins Lane/George’s Street market will relocate to the historic setting of Blackfriars, situated in the heart of medieval Waterford.
Two years ago, Waterford City Council first proposed to utilise the church site as a market venue, which led to phased conservation works being undertaken by the local authority.
Sensitive structural repairs, including the complete repointing of the exterior of the church’s tower were carried out, while the western gable wall was dismantled due to it being structurally unsound.
While the gable’s stonework has been salvaged, additional funding will be sought next year to permit its complete rebuilding.
The Council has installed necessary services (water, electricity and lighting) to cater for the market stalls, which have operated at its current setting for the past four years.
The market’s focus, according to Waterford City Council’s Honor Dunphy, is on “home made produce and home made products of high quality, local to the city and surrounding areas”.
The relocation of the market means that additional spaces will be available for new traders.
Built for the Dominican Order in Waterford in the 1230s (the fourth founded by the order in Ireland), the area took its name from the black cappa worn by the friars over their white habits. In contrast, the Fransicans wore grey habits – hence Greyfriars nearby.
The site bordered onto the mediaeval city wall which was rendered redundant after Waterford’s western expansion. The repointed bell tower was constructed in the late 15th century.
During Henry VIII’s monastery closing reign, the crown granted the site to Waterford Corporation for 10 pounds and an annual rent of four shillings. In the centuries since, the site has, amongst other functions, housed court trials and theatrical productions.
* Those interested in taking up a stall space at Blackfriars can call the City Council’s Environmental Services Office at 051-849563