Bray Market House

Map Reference: O263183 (3263, 2183)

In 1879 Reginald Brabazon, Lord Ardee, the son and heir to the 11th Earl of Meath, wrote to the Bray Town Commissioners offering the build a covered market house. The previous market house, near Bray Bridge, at the north end of the town, had been demolished 40 years earlier. Building was commenced in 1881 and finished within two years. The new building was designed by Thomas Newenham Deane and his son Thomas Manly Deane. Several others contributed and the builders were Wardrop and Son. There is a three-bay two-storey front elevation but this fails to give an adequate description of the size of the building. It is about 15m wide and 19m long.

The gables at the front are decorated with the arms of the Brabazon Family beneath which are oriel windows finished in black-and white half-timbered style. On the roof is a very fine cupola with a clock and topped by a spire.

Along the sides and at the rear the roof has many gabled dormer windows also in the half-timbered style. Originally there was an open arcade along each side. All of the ground floor was used for the market with the upper floor used for meetings of the Town Commissioners. The first such meeting took place in 1884. The market house is built mainly from red brick. The interior has very fine timber galleries and ceiling. The market was discontinued in the mid1940s but the building continued to be used by Bray Town Council.

In the 1990s the ground floor was converted into a high-ceilinged restaurant and taken over by McDonald’s. This means that a truly magnificent and uniquely designed market house has survived.

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