Skibbereen Farmers Market
Since King Charles II granted a charter to the town of Skibbereen in 1688 allowing a market to be held, ever since then, the town has been the commercial centre of West Cork. For 300 years fairs and markets were held in the town, culminating in the annual horse fair on 15th August. In the mid 19th centure, the Townsend family gave the town a field known as “The Fair Field” to keep the milling crowds of animals and people off the street. In 1958, Cork Marks built a cattle mart on the site. iN the 20th century, the market all but disappeared with only a few traders selling their wares out of doors. The cattle mart moved out of town to a new site, leaving a large empty space in the town centre.
Following a conference on the Globalization of Agriculture and the demise of the Family Farm, a food and farming group in Skibbereen called “Growing Awareness” decided to revive the Saturday market. Inspired by the success of Middleton Market, which pioneered the new wave of local food markets in Ireland. The new Skibbereen Farmer’s market has grown from just a handful of stalls in 2002 to over 100 in 2014, making the most of the old market rights and large space in the town centre.
As well as fresh food such as fist, port and a wide array of vegetables, there are lots of cooked foods too such as pies, cakes and bread. Local cheese such as Gubeen and Toonesbridge – the only Irish buffalo mozzarella – are also available, beside a vast array of imported cheese, olives, chocolate and other goodies. Tables and chairs are laid out for custmers and lots of hot food and drinks are available. Where else could you get a Breton Crepe, a West Cork Beef Burger and a Mediterranean sambusak fall for less that €5.00 ?
And for really slow food, locally grown herb and vegeables seeds and also available, including many heritage varieties.
There are lots of craft stalls selling everything from magic mushrooms to magic wands, antiques and bric-a-brac. There are always several buskers playing anything from Breton dancing music to classical violin concertos to traditional Irish music. The market is a great family morning out where you can do your entire weeks fod shopping, buy presents to bring home and a make a big difference to the local economy.
See you on Saturday. The market runds from about 9am until 2pm.