Northern Ireland

Folktown Market to open in one of Belfast's oldest areas

Market director Joby Fox (right) is pictured with stallholder Mark Douglas who will be making freshly baked breads at the market Image copyright other
Image caption Market director Joby Fox (right) is pictured with stallholder Mark Douglas who will be making freshly baked breads at the market

A new farmers' market is to open in one of Belfast's oldest areas.

Folktown market will be held behind Primark in Bank Square.

It is described as a farmers', food and artisan market and will run every Thursday from 16 April.

The market will feature up to 40 traders, with a focus on locally grown produce.

The Department of Social Development recently spent £3m renovating Bank Square, an area dating back to the 1600s.

Improvements included the installation of natural stone paving, landscaping, improved lighting, free wi-fi, street furniture and art work.

Social Development Minister Mervyn Storey MLA said the new market would bring increased footfall and activity to the Bank Square area and "act as a catalyst for the regeneration of this historic part of the city centre".

Local community group, Folktown Community Interest Company (CIC), said the market would bring "new life" to an underused city centre space.

"This market will help to connect all areas of the city and to breathe vitality and vibrancy into this space," said Folktown CIC director Joby Fox.

Image copyright other
Image caption Folktown market will be located behind Primark in Bank Square

"Bank Square is a part of Belfast that many people haven't been to and some weren't even aware that it existed."

Folktown CIC said they were involved in lengthy negotiations to obtain a licence for the market as under the original charter granted by King James I, the historic rights to operate markets in the city, including those held on private property or indoors, belong to the city council.

One of the traders who will operate at Folktown market is Mark Douglas, founder of Krazi Baker.

"When I started my business I found that it was very hard to get somewhere to trade," he said.

"This is a fantastic opportunity, unlike anything else, for arts, crafts, artisan and shoppers alike to express their talents. Belfast just keeps getting better."

The project has received support from the DSD, Awards for All and The Ireland Funds.

The market will be held in the shadow of two of the oldest churches in Belfast, Berry Street Presbyterian Church and St Mary's.

Organisers said the name Folktown came from discussions with local people reflecting on the area, which is rich in music, pubs, cuisine, arts groups, faith groups and small traders.

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