The 1980 Fire
Shortly before 11.30pm on 19th June 1980, a gas explosion in the Princes Street Market caused a fire to engulf the building. Six units of the city’s fire brigade fought the fire, and brought it under control within 30 minutes. However, the Princes Street Market was in ruins – with the exception of the fountain, which had survived the fire with only minor damage. The fire had not spread to the adjoining Grand Parade Market.
The Princes Street Market was fully restored by Cork Corporation, through it’s own Architects Department. The project was undertaken architects Jack Healy and Des Berkeley. In difficult economic times, the Corporation opted to refurbish the property – the insurance compensation payable was £150,000 and the overall cost of restoration was over £300,000, the Corporation borrowing the balance. Building work commenced in January 1981 and was completed by October 1981. The overall space stayed the same and the repaired fountain became the focal point of a circular geometry. The layout was improved and the upstairs gallery created new trading space and a café area. The restoration was widely regarded as successful and in 1983, Europa Nostra, the international federation of conservation societies, awarded the project a gold medal in recognition of its contribution to the enhancement of Europe’s architectural heritage.