As an avid flea market visitor, there were few people more overjoyed than I when coronavirus restrictions finally allowed for the fashion goldmines of Dublin to re-open.
Earlier this year, food, clothing and art markets were given permission to set up shop once more, restoring that special part of Dublin culture. And as the summer rolled in and life without the burden of College and academic stress became the norm, I suddenly had the opportunity to extend my market expeditions to further horizons.
Now, although Dublin city has a huge culture of boot sales, clothes swaps and flea markets, finding them can be tricky. It does seem like some markets want to remain hidden, as after some online research I realised that the only markets I could really find were the ones I already knew.
Luckily, a fellow market fiend offered to bring me to the Jamestown market, which turned out to be a mere 10 minutes from my house.
So on a sunny Sunday afternoon, we set off down the Grand Canal, cut through a laneway at Blackhorse Bridge and walked into the back of the Inchicore village estates. The flea market was in a warehouse at the bottom of the street, with people already selling bric-a-brac outside.
Walking inside the open door, the first room was wide and open, with some racks along the walls and some tables in the middle, all filled to the brim with a goldmine of clothes.
Thinking this was the only room of treats, I made sure to rummage properly and with intent, to try to pull out the best clothes I could scavenge. Emerging from the first room with a velvet top that cost me €2, I felt rather accomplished.
It wasn’t until my dear friend, who was much better versed in the maze of the Jamestown Market, then pointed me back towards another entrance into the warehouse. Here, the hallway literally opened up to house stall after stall of clothing, coats and shoes.
The pieces ranged from vintage to second hand to deadstock, each stall as thrilling as the last. There was furniture, jewelry, bric-a-brac along with a vast amount of clothing, all at respectable flea market prices. I had to do a few laps of the entire warehouse to make sure I didn’t miss a stall, or not catch a rack of clothes.
My companion then spotted the diamond of the market – right before I managed to lay eyes on it: a spectacular baby blue leather coat that was only €15. When she was trying it on, I did silently beg for the coat to not fit her right, in order for me to get a chance – but alas, it fit her like a glove.
But I certainly didn’t leave empty handed. After an hour of rummaging about, I managed to nab two beautiful silver rings and a long chained butterfly necklace for €5. From another stall I grabbed tan-toned runners, a red linen top and a small tank top, all just for just a tenner. My purchases scarcely fit in the tote bag I brought with me.
But it wasn’t the selection of stalls, the stylish clothes and vastness of the warehouse which made this market special. The atmosphere was relaxed, comfortable. There was no need for vendors to argue over customers or to try to make their stall the most desirable.
People were simply content, customers and sellers alike. There was no rushed feeling or pressure to buy. People simply sat about, chatting, making tea and soaking in the Sunday afternoon.
It was a market where everyone knew everyone, but if you didn’t know anyone, as I didn’t, you were welcomed just the same, as if you were a regular. It was one of the best flea markets I have ever set foot in.
The Jamestown market is a goldmine of hidden treasures, as well as being a hidden treasure itself and has remained a silent player in the game of flea markets in Dublin city.