Walls Lined with History; St.George's Market's Main Entrance
For over 100 years, St. George’s Market has been an intricate part of Belfast’s history, economy and culture. As you enter the market, you are met at the door with a multitude of sights and are hit by numerous smells; a blend of foods and spices, incense, fragrances, craft and trade.
I arrived for the Sunday morning as the stalls were mostly finished being set up. Throughout the morning, more and more stalls and products began to appear and disappear. The market was evolving before my very eyes as it had over its many years of leal service to the city. Not only has it been a place for traders and entrepreneurs to sell their wares but it also, in sadder times, served as a mortuary during German bombings on Belfast during World War II. In more recent years it has played host for live music gigs, art exhibitions, dance championships and food festivals.
The Market Begins to get into the Swing of Things
Come market days, which are Friday (variety), Saturday (food and craft) and Sunday (a mix of both); the stands are filled with products forged from ingenuity with traders passionate about what their wares. You’ll find something for everyone here with items that are unique, unusual and difficult to find elsewhere. Be it high quality paper notebooks made from repurposed scramble boards and vinyl records, vintage cameras which have probably captured much of Belfast’s colourful history, art and photo prints stemming from the troubles or a number of other oddities. To keep you fuelled there are plenty of food vendors whose produce might tempt you from far across the hall.
The atmosphere, once the market is in full swing, is vibrant and buzzing. The vendors are friendly and chatty and will give you a good feel for the pulse of the city. You will get the feeling that you are stepping into a unique community of people; from watching each other’s stalls, sharing change, keeping each other company to even helping furnish neighbouring stands. This is a great place to hone your bartering skills.
I couldn’t recommend St. George’s Market more, especially if you’re in town over the weekend. The market is ideal on a Sunday as most of shops in the city centre are not open until about 1 o’clock whereas the market is open from 10.
Words & Images by John Temke