From fried fare to an Irish twist on international cuisine to pocket-friendly treats for a sweet tooth, the Irish Village Markets-organised eclectic range of stalls at Mespil Road by the Grand Canal don’t disappoint, with diverse food for all tastes

EVERY Thursday afternoon at Mespil Road, the banks of the Grand Canal are lined with hungry lunchtime gatherers.
Businessmen and women, casual strollers and tourists sit side by side to enjoy the fare offered by Irish Village Markets – a food stall organisation with more than 15 different choices of fare.
Open from 11.30am – 2pm every week, the stalls have become a popular choice and a welcome change for those who want something more than a sandwich at their desk come lunchtime.
In good weather, you can expect it to be particularly mobbed by a hungry crowd.
Having heard good things, I decided to check it out for lunch. I arrived at 1pm and strolled along the selection of stalls with my lunchtime companion, both of us hungry and eager to make our minds up.
We passed a wide range of foods, from burgers to burritos to sushi, moving from Mexico to Japan in five easy steps.
We stopped by Paddy’s Irish Barbecue, a fiery grill piled high with meats and sausages and shared a small pre-lunch snack of pork crackling – purely in the interest of journalistic integrity of course.
It was salty and tasty, if a little bit on the crunchy side.
When we reached the end of the stalls, I decided to go back and try The Schnitzel Hut that we had passed. Having recently been to Austria, I was curious to see how the stall would measure up to my experience of the real deal.
My guest took off for The Paella Guys’ stall while I put in my order for the pork schnitzel.
It looked quite legitimate – a flattened-out piece of pork, breaded and fried. It was a big portion, and came with chips and creamy coleslaw.
The traditional accompaniments would usually be fried potatoes and tangy sauerkraut, but this is Ireland, after all, and sometimes a home take on a foreign dish can work well.
The Schnitzel was good, although I would have liked some more seasoning on it. The chips were standard frozen fare.
My companion arrived back with a steaming container of sticky paella with meatballs that smelled amazing. She was very impressed, so of course I had to try it too.
It was delicious, fresh and highly flavoured. I had food envy as I watched her devour the remains.
After we ate, we sat by the riverbed to digest our food and watched the stalls close up for the day. By 2pm, the place was quite empty.
On our way out we passed a stall of delicious looking cupcakes that was packing up, but decided against it, in the interest of our waistlines.
Mespil Road is just one of nine locations run by Irish Village Markets and they have stalls running on different days in places such as Blanchardstown, Spencer Dock, Merrion Square and Sandyford Industrial Estate.
Our experience was a good one, and definitely worth checking out if in the area.