Christmas was magically unwrapped in Limerick today with the most enchanting ever switching-on of the city’s festive lights to a captivated 12,000 attendance in the city centre.
Children and parents from across the city, neighbouring counties and even up the West coast and Dublin watched on in wonder at the unfolding launch of the ‘Christmas in Limerick’ spectacular.
The show capped a year of stunning year of theatre and performance across Limerick and was produced by Big House Productions.
The thousands who turned up today expecting more of the same and were not disappointed as among the highlights of the 45 minute performance was the opening of a Christmas Card to the people of the city and county from Limerick’s favourite Granny herself.
Crowds were also captivated as flying elves put the finishing touches to the city’s 40ft tall tree and sprinkled magical Christmas dust across the crowds as the 14,000 metres of Christmas lights were switched on.
The magical event featured spectacular performances by Fidget Feet Aerial Dance and Realta and was hosted by actor Louis Lovett, who also acted as translator for ‘Granny’ in September and read out her special card to the people of Limerick. Such were the crowds that traffic on O’Connell Street was stopped for 40 minutes as the throng spilled up onto lower Thomas Street.
The event was commissioned by Limerick City Business Association at Limerick Chamber, in partnership with Limerick City and County Council, as part of a three year plan to transform Limerick into Ireland’s leading destinations for Christmas shopping and short-breaks.
Said Helen O’Donnell, Chairperson of Limerick City Business Association at Limerick Chamber, “It has been an incredible evening, the biggest and most fantastic launch to what is going to be our best ever Christmas in Limerick. We see Limerick City centre as one of Ireland’s biggest shopping centres and this year we have more retailers than ever open for Christmas so it’s only right that we would put on a show like this.”
Children and parents were spellbound by the display, not least the sight of elves dangling 90ft above the ground.
Said 10 year-old Catriona Ryan from Shannon Banks, “It was magic. I loved the elves. It was so exciting and they even turned on the lights.”
Limerick City Mayor Michael Sheahan said the event was an open invitation to people from Limerick and beyond to come and enjoy what’s on offer in the city this Christmas. “This was a fantastic treat for the thousands who came in. To see the delight and amazement on the faces of young children was such a joy. That’s what Christmas is about and we are starting as we mean to continue as this evening only set the tone for a very special Christmas in Limerick. The festivities continue from here, right up to and including Christmas Eve.”
Among the specific initiatives in place as part of ‘Christmas in Limerick’ are:
- CULTURE OF CHRISTMAS
Limerick will be alive and buzzing with Culture at Christmas – a feast of activities, gigs, entertainment, markets and much more
- TASTE OF CHRISMAS
The city is putting on a culinary adventure with Taste of Christmas. This will see eateries develop their own specific delicious seasonal treats around the city
- SPIRIT OF CHRISTMAS
To deal with additional seasonal demands, Elves from the North Pole have set up camp in Limerick in the lead up to Christmas and will be based here, carrying out a range of duties including Elf Patrol -double checking naughty/nice lists in person and measuring levels of Christmas spirit – in preparation for the Big Man’s journey on Christmas Eve, and are asking for children, big and small, to come and help on any or all of their seasonal workshops, as follows:
- Elf Enterprises HQ
Elf Enterprises HQ is a very industrious workshop. The Elves will be pulling children and adults in to help prepare for Christmas. They will be sorting carrots for reindeers, testing sellotape for stickiness, filling naughty/nice lists and making Reindeer Flying dust
- Christmas Carol-oke
The elves will be inviting the people of Limerick and all its welcome visitors to come inside another of their city centre workshops and sing their favourite Christmas Carol on a special stage for all by-passers to see
- North Pole Post Office
Another Elf Workshop will be the North Pole Post Office where elves will need help arranging the safe delivery of all letters to Santa. This city centre temporary branch of the North Pole Post Office will be the best vantage point from which to send priority post to Santa. Children are asked to bring their letter along with them, have it stamped and sent ‘special delivery’
Full details, locations and opening times to be found at www.limerick.ie/christmas.
Visitors can also enjoy free on-street parking from 3pm every day from Monday November 24th courtesy of the local authority. While there are also special Christmas parking rates at private car parks.
For full details on Christmas in Limerick, go to www.limerick.ie/christmas