At that time, the city had a number of markets. These included Smithfield, where black cattle and sheep were sold, the wholesale fruit market at Little Green Street and Rotunda Market and Norfolk Market, which ran onto Great Britain (now Parnell) Street.
The widening of Drogheda Street to create Sackville (now O'Connell) Street by property developer Luke Gardiner in the mid 1750s gave additional impetus to the growth of the local meat and grocery trade. Before long, some of these traders began to advertise themselves as specialist dealers to the gentry. A lengthy poem called The Joys of Saturday describes a lady's shopping experience in the bustling market of Cole's Lane, giving some impression of how it must have been during the heyday of Georgian wealth:
On through its throng fat dowagers are moving,
Full well the butchers know each lady's name,
And, while she gets along with careful shoving,
Each doth the virtues of his beef proclaim;
Her butcher now the knowing dame entreateth,
Gravely he list'neth in his apron blue, :
And thus her coaxing and complaints he meeteth,
'I give it, ma'am, so cheap to none but you.'1
One verse describes how the poor room-keepers stood by until 'their betters are all served', with another introducing these worthies as 'butlers ... and cooks of much importance'. For large transactions, a butcher's porter was on hand to take the meat home in a wicker basket. A species of pigeon known as the 'Easterling'was a popular buy, as were geese and turkeys.
Herrings appeared in the market from July to December. The Dublin Bay variety, with its distinctive green back, was particularly prized and could fetch a high price. Alongside these were salmon, caught at Islandbridge, and cod and ling, which came in from Newfoundland. They were frame-dried in fishing villages such as Rush and Skerries, before being packed in straw for transport.
Many types of fruit were also to be found in the market during Georgian times.