Nostalgia: Lighting up for Christmas in Cork through the decades

Nostalgia: Lighting up for Christmas in Cork through the decades

Christmas lights on Princes Street in 1984.

Christmas preparations are underway across the city and county to bring some much-needed joy to Cork.

On Thursday evening, festive lights were switched on in many towns and villages such as Bantry, Carrigaline and Macroom.

Homeowners and businesses were also asked by the County Mayor councillor Mary Linehan Foley to turn on their lights in a show of solidarity across the county.

Christmas lights on Patrick's Street, 1961.
Christmas lights on Patrick's Street, 1961.

"We are dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic as a community, and even though this Christmas will be different, we will celebrate it as a community. 

"By turning on a light, as simple as a single candle or complete Christmas makeover, at 7pm on Thursday, you are showing that you stand with your neighbours, your friends and those who cannot get home. 

"Your light only has to stay on for a few minutes, but in those minutes our lives will all be a little bit brighter," she said.

Personnel at Kent Station station, ahead of Christmas in 1955.
Personnel at Kent Station station, ahead of Christmas in 1955.

Meanwhile, Cork city is currently being adorned with festive lights, which are to be switched on next week.

The council's staff members have been working hard since the start of the month along with a crew of 17 electricians to get everything ready.

In total 6.8km of energy-efficient LED lights will glisten throughout the city this Christmas.

Christmas lights in Cobh, 2005.
Christmas lights in Cobh, 2005.

Cork City Council will also install over 45 Christmas trees throughout the city centre and its suburbs as Cork begins to celebrate the festive season.

In previous decades, the switching on of the Christmas lights in the city occurred some weeks later.

In 1965, people took to the streets in their droves to watch the city being lit up on December 3.

"The Lord Mayor of Cork, Mr Con Desmond, turned on the city's Christmas street lights from the Victoria Hotel yesterday.

Christmas lights in Castletownbere, 2005.
Christmas lights in Castletownbere, 2005.

"Switching on the lights, the Lord Mayor said that the lights made the city brighter and more cheerful and he wished to thank the business people on behalf of the citizens for making it possible," an Echo article from December 4 stated.

This year, due to the current restrictions, there will be no official public event to mark the switching on of the city’s Christmas lights.

Christmas lights in Bantry, 2005.
Christmas lights in Bantry, 2005.

However, while festive plans will be different this year due to Covid, some regular attractions, such as the Ferris Wheel on Grand Parade, are planned to go ahead, Cork City Council's director of services Adrienne Rodgers confirmed at Monday night's council meeting.

The GLOW festival is to be "reimagined" this year and will feature a creative festive windows installation around the theme of pantos in the city centre.

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