Me Auld Flower: food and drinks festival to open next month in historic Smithfield marketplace

A new Irish food and drink festival is coming to Dublin 7 next month and will take place in a historic building that’s been closed since pre-pandemic times – and some people are unhappy about the prices.

Dublin City Fruit, Veg & Flower Market – Home of Me Auld Flower Food & Drinks Festival – Credit: Allen Kiely

Me Auld Flower’ is a food and drink festival happening St Patrick’s Weekend, from March 16 until the 19th.

The ticketed festival will take place in the historic Dublin City Fruit, Veg, & Flower Market, located at St Mary’s Lane, Dublin 7. The marketplace originally opened in 1892 but closed down in August 2019 for planned redevelopment.

There are over 25 different restaurants and food stands in the festival, including Bahay’s Filipino-Irish street food, Our Table’s African-inspired Irish food, tacos from Los Chincanos, and Dublin-based BBQ restaurant Pitt Bros, to name but a few.

Thirty five chefs and guests will be in attendance for talks, cooking, and demos. Those taking part in talks and demos include Shauna Froydenlund, Jordan Bailey, and JP McMahon.

There will be over 20 bars, spirit makers, and craft beer brewers including Dan Kelly’s Cider, Rascals, and Galway Bay Brewery.

Along with food, drinks, talks, and demos, there’ll also be plenty to see and do, including a ‘Coddle Cook-Off’, tastings, street games, and ‘Me Auld Flower Walking Tours’ (in aid of the Capuchin Day Centre).

There’ll also be live music with Mr Whippy Soundsystem, Dublin Ukulele Collective, and “the hardest working band in the world”, aka Ispíní na hÉireann, taking to the marketplace over the weekend.

Me Auld Flower line-up poster

Children aged three to 12 will require a ticket priced at €5, with younger children free.

Tickets for those over the age of 12 start at €22 (excluding booking fee), which has caused some backlash.

One Twitter user wrote that this market was “another example of gentrifying in Dublin”.

Another user called it “absolutely scandalous”.

Festival director Andy Noonan told The Liberty he is aware of the reaction.

“As this has been an unused space for some time and there are currently no existing facilities within it,” he said. “In order to bring it back to life for a festival experience it does come at a cost.

“We don’t receive any public funding for this festival, so the substantial investment needed to produce this large-scale event and open the building in a safe way requires a ticket price to cover some of these costs,” Noonan said.

“I understand that locals in particular would have been used to freely accessing the old market building when it was trading as a fruit, veg and flower market, but Me Auld Flower Food & Drink Festival is not a market day. It’s a live festival experience.”

Noonan says that anyone coming to Me Auld Flower will have access to people and restaurants they wouldn’t usually see in Dublin, and that the value in the ticket is the chance to try interesting food,  watch and learn from professional demos on stage, and enjoy live music and entertainment.

Information, as well as tickets, can be found here.

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