Smithfield (Irish: Margadh na Feirme , which means “Farm Market”) is an area on the Northside of Dublin. Its focal point is a square, past the open market, now officially called Smithfield Plaza, but locally as Smithfield Square and Smithfield Market.

Famous landmarks include the Old Jameson Whiskey Distillery and lookout tower.

Historically, Smithfield was a suburb of Oxmantown and was within the parish of St. Paul’s. [1] There is no general agreement on the extent of the area known as Smithfield, but it roughly covers the area bounded by the River Liffey to the south, Bow Street to east, queen Street in the west and north of Brunswick street in the suburb of Grange Gorman in the north.


Smithfield Market was built in the mid 17th century as a marketplace. Until its renovation in the early 21st century, the square was lined with inner city “farm housing cattle. In 1964, Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor spent time here, because Burton worked on the movie set in Smithfield for the film adaptation of John le Carré’s novel The Spy Who Came in from the cold .Smithfield presented as Checkpoint Charlie in the film. [2]

Smithfield was rejuvenated under HARP (Historic Area rejuvenation plan). [3]An architectural competition was held and won by McGarry NiEanaigh architects in 1997. The renovation involved raising more than 400,000 hundred and twenty years old cobblestones, clean them by hand and restore them.

Contemporary architecture and twelve 26.5 meters of gas lighting masts, each with a 2-foot flame, now flank the square. Although the flames are rarely lit, lighting mast shades sometimes be seen in different colors, which reflect cultural events throughout the year. For example, the switch to a vibrant shade of green as part of the celebration of St. Patrick, and was changed to the colors of the rainbow for the premiere of the 2015 GAZE International LGBT Film Festival at Smithfield Light House Cinema.

The square used to hold several concerts after renovation but these were discontinued after complaints from local residents [ citation needed ] . Although the location has not been developed as a “Western IFSC” that had originally expected (referring to the city’s major financial hubs in the east and its related significant “staff professional” residential), the Plaza provides a convenient through route for the locals as well as for a number of professionals and users of a series of judicial and legal services and related buildings in the area. These range from prison Probation Services to the Family Court and the Law Society of Ireland, including Smithfield and Smithfield Market is located in convenient proximity to Dublin legal / prosecution hub in the Four Courts.

horse fair

The area is known for the historic horse fair, held on the first Sunday in March and September. [4]

Horse Fair used to be monthly. A bye-law on January 14, 2013 reduced to twice a year and this has also established a number of new rules and regulations. [5] The main reasons for the change were some violent incidents and objections from local residents who are uncomfortable with its atmosphere, noise, perceptions of animal abuse and neglect. Smithfield Horse Fair continues to draw heavy and persistent criticism from a variety of sources, including An Garda Síochána and the Dublin Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (DSPCA). [6] [7]

March 6, 2011 shooting

On March 6, 2011, there was a gunfire as a result of a feud between two families travelers. [8] [9] Three people were injured. An explosive device was recovered and examined by the Irish Army experts. Two men were arrested by Gardai. [10] [11]

The Mayor of Dublin, Dublin City Council and DSPCA demanded immediate closure of the fair. [12] [13] [14]

3 April 2011 Incident

3 people were arrested when gardai tried to seize a horse from a man who had ridden the horse in a gallop through the area. [15]


The Old Jameson Distillery Chimney tower and its observation deck, is no longer available to the public because it has long since been closed due to health and safety reasons.

Light House Cinema revived in May 2008 Smithfield Square, after being forced to close their doors on Abbey Street on 27 September 1996. [16]


Smithfield may include satellite, and develop “museum district” in the west, and Four Courts District in the east. These districts are largely residential and combined with the area around Smithfield Square are the main purchase Liffey river frontage of Dublin 7th

New commercial, residential and cultural development led to the area recently begun in vogue during the first decade of the 21st century. [17] But above all, during the period 2008-2010, stagnation set as development came to a halt and the Irish economy / real estate market nose-dived soon after the Celtic tiger economic downturn struck. The key questions of varying apartment occupancy, with enclosed retail space and an almost absolute majority of unfinished and vacant commercial units at Smithfield Market has created a highly visible reminder of the economic and social challenges that remain to be addressed in this historic part of Dublin.

Red Luas line skirts Square in the south, providing a convenient link to the nearby city center or to the far south of the city, Tallaght, Saggart.

previous station Luas following station
Four Courts against Connolly or The Point Red thread Museums against Tallaght Saggart


  1. Jump up ^ Twomey, Brendan (2005). Smithfield and the parish of St. Paul, Dublin, Dublin 1698-1750. Four Courts Press. p. 7.ISBN 1-85182-895-8.
  2. Jump up ^ Frank McNally (2 July 2010). “An Irish Diary”. The Irish Times.
  3. Jump up ^ “” It used to be winos located in Smithfield … now you see the lawyers step over them. ‘ ” Sunday Tribune. 5 July 2009.
  4. Jump up ^
  5. Jump up^
  6. Jump up ^ “” Miracle nobody killed “at Smithfield horse fair: DSPCA”.Irish Examiner. 6 March 2011. Retrieved 6 mars2011.
  7. Jump up ^ “” It used to be winos located in Smithfield … now you see the lawyers step over them. ‘ ” Sunday Tribune. 5 July 2009.
  8. Jump up ^ Kelly, Olivia (6 March 2011). “Two shots at Smithfield horse fair”. The Irish Times. Retrieved March 7, 2011.
  9. Jump up ^ Kelly, Olivia (7 March 2011). “Violence will not hurt the event’s future, say traders.” The Irish Times. Hämtadsyv March 2011.
  10. Jump up ^ Alison Bray; Tom Brady (7 March 2011). “Three hurt in shootout at Smithfield horse fair”. Irish Independent .Hämtad March 7, 2011.
  11. Jump up ^ Kelly, Olivia (7 March 2011). “A man was arrested after two injured in shooting at Smithfield horse fair”. The Irish Times.
  12. Jump up ^ “DSPCA CALL Smithfield Horse Fair close after the shots AND VIOLENCE”. Retrieved March 6, 2011.
  13. Jump up ^ Bray, Alison (7 March 2011). “Calls for the closure of the market where low-horses, ponies and donkeys have been traded since 1665”. Irish Independent. Retrieved March 7, 2011.
  14. Jump up ^ Aoife Carr; Olivia Kelly. “Dublin mayor to seek a ban horse fair”. The Irish Times. Taken seven mars2011.
  15. Jump up ^ “Three were arrested at Smithfield Horse Fair”. Rte. 3 April 2011.
  16. Jump up ^ Neil Connolly, Maretta Dillon (May 2008). “History of the Light House Cinema”. Light House Cinema.
  17. Jump up ^ “” It used to be winos located in Smithfield … now you see the lawyers step over them. ‘ ” Sunday Tribune. 5 July 2009.