POSTED BY: Stephen Walsh

Packaging in Ireland’s Oldest Market

31st Aug, 2018
ireland oldest market image

Packaging in Ireland’s Oldest Market

Since 1788, The English Market in Cork has been home to hundreds of traders from around the county. The 230-year-old roofed food market is the oldest in Ireland and was built by a Protestant or “English” corporation that controlled the city at the time (hence the name).

The English Market is a unique place to visit in Cork. At every turn, stalls are jam-packed with all types of foodie options from family businesses passed down from generation to generation.

Meats and fish, herbs and spices, fruits and vegetables, sauces and oils, chocolate and cakes, cheese and pasta – the market caters for all! And whenever I visit, I take a stroll around the stalls to get a look at all the interesting bespoke packaging designs.

As a packaging designer, I really enjoy these visits to The English Market – there’s always something that catches my eye. The artisan foods and goods are items you can’t get anywhere else because they’re all locally produced and not available online. It’s great to get my hands on these products, pick them up and get a feel for the brand. I’d show you pictures of my favourite artisan brands, but they have a strict policy of no photos (trust me I tried).

I’m not sure where traders get their packaging designed, but I doubt there would be much of a rollout as everything they make themselves is in small batches. You can see that each product is put together by hand, and the heart and soul they put into making their products is expressed in their packaging.

I remember one stall that had jars of honey that were wrapped in ripped cloth and tied with old twine. They then seemed to have letterpressed their labels on by hand with the family name and type of honey. It looked the part and you really got a feel for the brand as a family homemade honey. Not ideal for a mainstream print, but because it comes in small batches they have the time for the TLC that goes into the packaging. Quality, not quantity. It’s artisan design in its rawest form.

If you’re a packaging designer or a foodie person I recommend popping in to see what you find – but remember, no photos!!


Stephen Walsh | Packaging Designer
Stephen is a Packaging Designer with Neworld, a branding & packaging design agency with over 30 years experience. We immerse ourselves in your industry, your customers, your competitors and your business goals to create design solutions that will guarantee to boost your bottom line.