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Brisk trade in BB guns on Meath Street

By Katriona Quinn

At first glance, the shabby building belies the maze of crowded, multi-coloured stalls and eager traders housed within. However, the blue awning above the doors proudly states that it is “Dublin’s famous Liberty Market”.

The ‘Liberty Market’ opened its doors to Meath Street over 30 years ago and is still going strong today.

As one of the oldest markets in Dublin it is well-established in the area as the place to get clothes, shoes, handbags and more on the cheap. Many of the traders admit that their goods are counterfeit, yet it doesn’t seem to deter customers.

The friendly, chatty traders sell everything from  handbags to blu-ray DVD players and they are more than happy to haggle prices with the customers.

Alongside the stalls stacked with bags, shoes and jewellery that unconvincingly purport to be designer label there are booths selling pirate copies of the latest Xbox, Wii and Playstation games and blu-ray DVD players for as little as €45. These goods are snapped up week after week at the Liberty Market.

One saleswoman explained to me that the DVD player is, “in perfect condition but it’s cheap because the box was damaged” and she even offered to lower the price further to get my custom.

However, the busiest stall was run by a friendly red-headed woman who gave her name as Jacinta. She sells knives, BB guns, and more powerful gas and electric-powered guns and smoking paraphernalia. She explained she has been, “running this stall here in the Liberty Market for one year now”.

Her stall was always crowded with fascinated young boys and she sold BB guns by the dozen.

When questioned about these she said, “I only sell to over 16s but if they’re younger then they have to have a parent with them.” She explained that she insisted younger customers had a parent with them so she couldn’t be held responsible for any accidents caused by the guns and knives sold.

I heard a boy aged seven say, “This is the coolest stand going…pellet guns and everything to do with weed and stuff,” before being dragged off by his irate mother.

Jacinta admitted, “The market for these guns has slowed down…but I’ve built up the stall gradually so I have some dedicated customers.” Her booth was never quiet and I witnessed a teenage boy buying a gas-powered gun and pellets for €90 after haggling the price down from €120 because he didn’t want to, “spend all my dole money because I want to get some Adidas runners at the other stall too”.

Image via Outsanity Photos on Flickr.

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