Paying through the nose for something that’s free in plenty of other cities feels so Dublin

When I lived in the middle of Dublin, we would often pass the time at the height of the pandemic by going on meandering walks through the streets of the city centre. City Hall wore the barren streets around it well, standing taller and prouder once it didn’t have to compete with traffic on Parliament Street. Talbot street, usually a glorious humming melee, seemed almost solemn in its new silence. But between Capel Street and Smithfield, there was a different kind of desolation.

’m sure hardly anyone could pass the old fruit, veg and flower market on St Mary’s Lane without thinking what a waste it was to have let it lie empty. The resplendent red bricks and embellished Victorian arches were too fine to be framing nothing more than a decaying cavern, the haunted site of a former market. People have been crying out for the council to revive the building, in its enviable location at the heart of the city, into a new market — the kind you can find in so many other Irish and European cities.