- a blog about food and value

No more Moore Street?

moore-street-photo1I’m a born and bred southside boy, but no stranger to the mean streets of Dublin north.

Back in the 70’s and early 80’s – when, like today, money was a scarce commodity – my dad made a weekly trek through ten feet of snow, volcanoes, solar flares, heatwaves, and floods to pick up fruit and veg on Moore Street. Or so he likes to tell us (actually, he got the bus and carried the boxes and bags home).

Fast forward a few years to the 1980’s. My parents had a gaggle of kids now so they’d finally bought a car. Every Saturday, they piled us all in and drove us to Moore Street. The traders lined the length and breadth of the street, and Dad knew them all by name. The women would always throw in “a little extra”: a few apples, a couple of extra carrots or – if they were feeling particularly generous – a head of cauliflower (back then, people still ate cauliflower).

Dad also bought a packet of jam tarts, and allowed my two wicked sisters and I to choose one chocolate bar each. You could pick up four out-of-date chocolate bars for £1 (€1.27), just outside the world’s grottiest looking pub (now long gone). We’d all pile back into the car, shouting and fighting, and then share some bags of chips from Burdock’s. Those were our treats for the week. On the drive home, dad would brag and boast about how he’d got the best deals on the freshest produce, before launching into a rant on the evils of tinned, jarred or frozen fruit and veg.

A few weeks ago, Jean and I found ourselves on Moore Street to meet a photographer from the RTE Guide. It’s changed a lot since my yoof.

You’re just as likely to find some great Asian, African, and Caribbean shops – including The Spice of Life and Crystal Continental Food Store – as you are veg sellers. There’s a strong Chinese and African presence on the street, and you’ll get some great cheap eats there, including Curry King and Mauritian eatery Coin de Mare. Immigration really reinvigorated Moore Street, although its redevelopment with colourless and character-free  buildings by unimaginative developers during the boom years was a debilitating thump in the street’s soul.

Jean and I wasting time on Moore Street

Jean and I wasting time on Moore Street

You can still get excellent value on fruit and veg: Jean and I picked up a mountain of very delicious and very fresh food for under €5. Unlike the supermarkets, the fruit isn’t always polished to within an inch of its life, and doesn’t get binned just because it doesn’t look perfect.

Sadly, the age-old trading tradition appears to be in decline. There were barely half the same amount of traders as there used to be, and one of the sellers gave us the melancholy news that the fruit and veg sellers were “on the way out. This is the last generation – we’ll be gone in a few years.”

If her prediction is correct, this would be a real shame. Moore Street is one of the few places left in Dublin city with genuine character (Camden Street has it too, in a different way. You’ll find good value with their fruit and veg sellers too). My dad says it’s because you can’t get anywhere to park anymore, but I’m hoping it’s that people have simply forgotten or don’t know what a great value gem – in every sense of the word Moore Street is. Get out there and rediscover it.


  1. I love Moore St, and its really depressing to see the row of closed-down Asian shops which stretches for more than a block. I’d hate to see it die.

  2. Id say its on the decline becuase of aldi and lidls cheap fruit and vegetables and, as you pointed out, there is no generation to take over from the current one. I have to say though, I never found the sellers charming or helpful at all. When I lived in Dublin I stopped going to them after being conned by rotten fruit hidden in the bottom of the bag concealed with one or two ripe items.

  3. My office is only around the corner from Moore Street and I’d love to go over more often because they do fantastic value in fruit and veg but the thought of lugging home bags of fruit and veg on the train is not appealing. I find peppers the best value there, usually something like 4 or 5 for €2 so if I knew I was going to be roasting a pan of them I would make the effort!

  4. Agree with deisegirl – have always found Moore St veg to be good value and good quality, but just can’t be bothered bringing a load of tomatoes or peppers home on the bus or bike!

    Sadly, it does seem as though Moore St is soon going to lose whatever local character it still has, and will soon be just another slightly seedy North Side street lined with boarded up building, ethnic shops and pound shops. Slightly depressing, in other words.

  5. I sometimes found very good value for quality fruits and vegs. but on a few occasions I was, like Claire, conned by the rotten vegs hidden behind nice ones on the carts. Because you can’t see when the lady serves you, you might end up with very poor value if most is not edible! But in fairness, it depends on the time of the day. I also like buying a few chocolate bars that are near the best before date for less than half their original price. And I love it at Christmas with vendors sporting Santa’s hats and selling “must-have” items 🙂