Congratulations to Belfast’s historic St George’s Market which has been shortlisted in the ‘Best Food Market’ category of this year’s UK's BBC Radio 4 Food and Farming Awards 2014.
It is the first time that the Belfast Market has reached the final of what is regarded as the ‘Oscars' of the UK food industry and comes just weeks after St George’s was named ‘Best Large Indoor Market’ by trade body NABMA, The UK National Association of British Market Authorities.
St George’s is one of three markets to have been shortlisted for the prestigious awards: the others are Brockley Market in London and Aberystwyth Farmers Market. The three markets are among 24 finalists who have been shortlisted from a record-breaking 6,000 for this year’s awards.
Reacting to the shortlisting, Councillor Deirdre Hargey, Chair of Belfast City Council’s Development Committee, which oversees the Market, commented: “This is a fantastic and well-deserved achievement. We in Council are fiercely proud of St George’s Market, and it is great news for us to see it continuing to win accolades and justifying our continuing faith and investment in this superb facility. I would like to pay tribute to the Market staff for all their hard work, and in particular to the traders, whose dedication to St George’s is the key to its continuing success, and to all of those who voted for the Market.”
St George’s Market is one of Belfast’s oldest attractions. It was built between 1890 and 1896 and is one of the best markets in the UK and Ireland. It has been selected for numerous local and national titles and awards for its fresh, local produce and great atmosphere. It holds a weekly Friday Variety Market, the City Food and Craft Market on Saturdays and the Sunday Market. It also hosts a range of events throughout the year.
Belfast Variety Market- Day: Friday- Opening hours: 6am - 2pm
The Friday Variety Market dates back to 1604. It opens at 6am every week and runs until approximately 2pm. There are 248 market stalls selling a variety of products including: fruit, vegetables, antiques, books, clothes and fish. It's this assorted mix that attracts thousands of visitors each week. The fish section alone contains 23 fish stalls and holds the reputation for being the leading retail fish market on the island of Ireland!
Belfast City Food and Craft Market- Day: Saturday- Opening hours: 9am - 3pm
The Saturday Market has a fusion of tempting speciality foods from around the world as well as handmade crafts, flowers, plants and local photography, pottery, glass and metal work. The market offers a huge range of local, continental and specialty foods including meat and fish, cheese, coffee beans, tapas and organic products.
Enjoy the best food, tastes and smells brought by local producers including fish landed at Portavogie, pork from Cookstown, beef from Armagh, venison and pheasant in season, local organic vegetables. Continental and speciality foods include wild boar, tapas, cheeses, cured meats, teas and coffees from around the world, and delicious French pastries and crepes.
Belfast Sunday Market- Day: Sunday- Opening hours: 10am - 4pm
This market is a mixture of the Friday and Saturday markets with a special emphasis on local arts and crafts, offering more local craftspeople the opportunity to show off their talents. You can also expect live music from local bands.
Along with local, continental and specialty foods such as spices, chutneys and chocolates, you can expect scented candles, clothes, handmade jewellery, recycled goods, household goods, antiques, garden plants, souvenirs, health and beauty products.
One other Northern Ireland food company which is also competing in the final stage of the competition is Abernethy Butter, from Dromara in County Down, who count Heston Blumenthal among their customers. They have been shortlisted in the ‘Best Food Producer’ category.
This year’s finalists will feature in a special edition of BBC Radio 4’s The Food Programme, broadcast on Sunday 9 March 2014. Winners will be announced at a ceremony held in Bristol on Thursday 1 May 2014.
St George's Market is the last surviving Victorian covered market in Belfast, Northern Ireland. It is located on May Street, close to the River Lagan and the Waterfront Hall. It is situated at 12-20 E Bridge St, Belfast City.
I think this Belfast market area is a perfect example of what can be achieved with the future development of the Victorian Market in Dublin and I hope those planning it's redevelopment have had a look at how St George's Market works. Best of success.