Thousands of families turned out on Limerick’s O’Connell Street yesterday for the turning on of the city’s Christmas Lights officially launching the festive season in Limerick.
PAW Patrol characters Marshall, Skye and Chase joined Mayor of the City and County of Limerick Cllr Stephen Keary at the Light Up Limerick ceremony as well as special guests Santa Claus, the North Pole Elves and Limerick Rose Kayleigh Maher.
The crowds were entertained from 4.30pm by street performers and special guests including soprano and blogging star Sinéad O’Brien, tenor Derek Moloney, Limerick Gospel Choir and musician Jason Hennessy in the build up to the turning on of the lights.
Those gathered were also treated to a fireworks display and a snow machine enthralled the many children present who sang Christmas songs and enjoyed the spectacular display of LED Christmas lights across the city centre.
Light Up Limerick on Sunday was the starting point of six weeks of celebration that will also include, among other items (see www.limerick.ie/christmas for full details) a New Year’s Eve Fireworks Extravaganza:
- Musical Treats on Thomas Street –Thomas Street in the centre of Limerick’s vibrant shopping district will be filled with festive cheer as carol singers, bands and choirs will entertain Christmas shoppers and passers-by from the quirky caravan stage from 12pm to 6p.m on the 2nd, 3rd, 4th 9th, 10th December
- Festive Craft Fair - at Bedford Row on Saturday and Sunday, 2nd and 3rd December from 11-6pm
- Santa’s Post Box supported by Limerick Chamber - on Bedford Row where elves will be busy collecting children’s wishes and dreams and where they can post that all important letter to Santa in plenty of time for Christmas. There will also be seasonal workshops hosting a feast of activities including Christmas decoration card making, mini Elf making and much more. Children will be entertained by plenty of Christmas characters, carousel rides, festive music, food stalls and a special Christmas themed photo booth from 9th and 10th December from 12-6pm
- Limerick on Ice – Ireland’s longest established ice-ring is back by hugely popular demand in Arthurs Quay Park from 1st December – 7th January.
- The Enchanted Christmas Carriage - take in the magic of Limerick at Christmas from the comfort of festive horse drawn carriage from 1st December -7th January
- A host of live music at Dolan’s and Live at the Big Top
- Christmas themed markets at the Limerick Milk Market – 14th to 17th and 21st-24th of December
- Santa’s - A host of magical Santa’s across Limerick
- Christmas Racing Festival – Limerick Racecourse is the ideal place to continue the festive celebrations in style Monday 26th to Thursday 29th
- New Year’s Eve Fireworks Extravaganza – the skies of Limerick will transform into an explosion of colours during the spectacular New Year’s Eve event. There will be musical entertainment from 8.30pm followed by a fantastical fireworks display at 9pm.
The Christmas programme in Limerick is being co-ordinated by Limerick City and County Council Arts Office and the Office of Marketing and Communications with help from Grooveyard Event Management and GoldieFish events.
Looking ahead to the festive season, Mayor of the City and County of Limerick Cllr Stephen Keary said: “Christmas is a special time, especially for families and Light up Limerick was a magical occasion and it really showed Limerick at its very best.”
“This time of year is a time for reflection on the origins of Christmas, for renewing old acquaintances and for spending quality time with friends and family. It is also a time to visit and show generosity to those less fortunate.”
“This year I’m calling on everyone across Limerick city and county to come out, shop local and support our small businesses.”
Laura Ryan, Head of Marketing and Communications at Limerick City and County Council: “There is a real sense of excitement and anticipation about Christmas in Limerick this year with a packed calendar of family fun events, shopping offers, live music and craft fairs on offer. A six week campaign showcasing just how special Limerick is at Christmas time is now underway and we’re issuing an open invitation to all to come and enjoy.”
Limerick City and County Council Arts Officer, Sheila Deegan, added: “Light up Limerick was a fantastic civic event to celebrate the season of Christmas and we’re delighted that so many people came into the city centre to mark the start of the festive season. This opportunity to invest in culture and to bring new energy, synergies and events of scale to our citizens is a direct result of the Limerick Cultural Strategy and the strategic decision by the Council to invest further in culture in Limerick.”
City centre retailers are being encouraged to open late on Friday nights and on Sundays during December.
Dr James Ring, Chief Executive of Limerick Chamber said, “This Christmas, Limerick Chamber is encouraging the people of Limerick to support their own. Let’s shop local, visit the city, soak up the wonderful atmosphere, and avail of the great value and choice offered by our local businesses for Christmas shopping. The 2017 Limerick Christmas experience brings the city to life with an extensive calendar of activities to enhance shoppers’ experiences.”
**Note: The lights had been scheduled to be switched on at 6pm but this was brought forward by 15 minutes at the request of the Gardai such was the huge numbers that swelled into the city centre to witness the spectacle.