Merchant’s Square in Ennis has evolved into a thriving eco-system of business this summer, with traders enjoying a Mediterranean feel in the “best pedestrianised area of the town.”
Shane O’Neill, who owns Arts and Crafts, has been supplying schools, teachers, artists, hobby painters and crafters from the square since 1993. He emphasised that the retail and leisure element of his business feed well into the feel of the community and that it benefits from not having insurance companies and hardware stores.
“We work together and we are certainly not out of place here. We have all really taken ownership of the place in a sense of looking after it. Our shop fronts are all in good condition. I think its the best pedestrianised place in town. It’s working the way everyone’s vision of it was initially,” he stated.
Meanwell owner Roy Power, who has two stores, emphasised the environmental and health-conscious aspect that his stores have brought to the area. Housing 2,500 products in Ireland’s first solely vegan and plant-based shop, he credits the “diversity” brought to the area by each and every shop owner that has added to a rejuvenated feeling within the Square. “Both stores are about improving personal health, having less impact on the environment and creating awareness for animal welfare,” he added.
Barry Pilkington from The Market Bar, who described the area as having a European feel to it, stated that “since merchants square has been developed it has brought a much-needed facelift to the area with everyone getting on board to help.” This was added to by Shane O’RNeill who hopes to see the resurfacing work on Parnell Street tie in with Merchant’s Square.
He highlighted the importance of implementing an “overall plan” that looks beyond just the street surface, and incorporates down pipes, signage and street furniture. “The big one is parking. If they provide good parking, it will make the town and this area accessible and people will want to come,” he concluded.