Introduction

The history of this area can be traced back to the Middle Ages with the establishment the old Viking settlement of Ostmantown, near what is now called Stoneybatter. The latter part of the 17th and early 18th century saw considerable growth in this section of the city.

The history of this area can be traced back to the Middle Ages with the establishment the old Viking settlement of Ostmantown, near what is now called Stoneybatter. The latter part of the 17th and early 18th century saw considerable growth in this section of the city. By 1660 Oxmantown became residential with wealthy people living around the Green. In 1664 a highway, Queen Street, and a major cattle market at Smithfield were established. These, in addition to the opening of the Royal Barracks (now Collins Barracks) to the west in 1704 resulted in a bustling district throughout the 18th century, Filled with shops, markets, hotels and traders. Fortunes took a turn for the worse from the start of the 19th century, and the north of the city experienced serious decline. A pall of economic hardship characterised by high unemployment, emigration and poverty descended on the area as the rural-based economy of the markets began to falter.

Then, in the final quarter of the last century, the collapse of major employers such as Jameson's Distillery, the cattle market and the abattoir compounded the area's problems. The northwest of the inner city became a forbidding and desolate area. Yet, as with many of Dublin's inner-city areas, this litany of hardship and deprivation failed to destroy the long-established community spirit. It is against this backdrop that Dublin City Council decided to intervene in the mid-1990s with the Historic Area Rejuvenation Project (HARP) Framework Plan and subsequently with local plans for places such as the Markets Area. Sustainable planning, coupled with institutions such as the National Museum in Collins Barracks, public spaces such as Smithfield Plaza, and the proposed university campus at Grangegorman, has created the formula for a successful and vibrant city quarter.

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