Cork gets ready for its big Christmas lights spectacular

Cork gets ready for its big Christmas lights spectacular
The Ferris wheel lights up the Christmas market on Cork's Grand Parade. Picture: Rory Coomey

CHRISTMAS comes to Cork this Sunday, with the Lord Mayor of Cork marking the official start of the festive season by turning on the lights.

Dozens of City Council workers are putting in the hours all week, putting the finishing touches on more than 35 Christmas trees throughout the city.

Some 55,000 Chrismas tree lights will twinkle throughout the city, with city businesses all lighting up to spread the festive cheer, too.

Christmas lights at St Patrick Street in 1961.
Christmas lights at St Patrick Street in 1961.

Brightly lit trees have been added to various parts of the city in recent days, with Blackpool, Bishopstown, St Luke’s, Mayfield, Blackrock, Douglas, Shandon, Turner’s Cross, Togher and Knocknaheeny just some of the areas decorated.

In all, some five kilometres of lights will be strung around Christmas trees in the city this year.

The festivities will actually kick off tonight on North Main St when the Lord Mayor visits a number of local businesses and switches on the Christmas light in the city’s oldest quarter. The main event follows on Sunday with a special event set to begin at 6.30pm.

Ireland’s leading pop music school, the Cork Academy of Music, will enthral the audience with a selection of much-loved Christmas classics, including All I Want for Christmas, Let It Snow and Merry Christmas Everyone.

A packed Patrick Street in 1999.	Picture: Denis Minihane
A packed Patrick Street in 1999. Picture: Denis Minihane

The students have performed on the Late Late Toy Show and the Voice of Ireland in the past and have become a much-loved part of the Christmas spectacle on Patrick St.

The official switch on of the Christmas Lights by the Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr. Tony Fitzgerald will take place at approximately 7.15pm with rumours of a special guest appearance by Santa Claus.

A busy Patrick Street in 1996.	Picture:Denis Minihane
A busy Patrick Street in 1996. Picture:Denis Minihane

Large crowds are expected at this wonderful and very popular event and there will be ISL Irish Sign Language Services on offer throughout the evening.

Speaking ahead of Sunday’s even, the Lord Mayor said: “Cork City Council puts a great effort into Christmas each year with staff working on putting up trees, lights from late October. Now we have an incredible 55,000 lights around the city: so come into town in the next few weeks and enjoy the very special Cork Christmas atmosphere in the city centre.”

Due to the large volume of people who annually attend the Switching on of the Christmas Lights, members of the public are being asked to give themselves plenty of time to come into Cork City on Sunday. Normal Sunday parking restrictions will apply and traffic wardens will be on duty. Park and Ride will operate every 15 minutes from 11am-8.30pm from Black Ash to Lapps Quay.

See www.corkchristmascelebration.ie for details on parking in the city.

The festive spirit on Princes Street in 1984.
The festive spirit on Princes Street in 1984.

The switching on of the Christmas Lights will kick start the city’s seasonal celebrations and a big promotional drive by Cork City Council and the Cork Business Association to encourage people to come into the city centre and to shop locally in the lead up to Christmas. The festivities don’t end there, though. The Glow Christmas celebration returns to Bishop Lucey Park and Grand Parade from December 1, running on twelve days throughout the month of December.

The festival will comprise of a family-focused spectacle in Bishop Lucey Park, as well as funfair elements including the iconic Ferris wheel and food and craft market on Grand Parade. Running on December 1, 2, 3, 8, 9, 10, 15, 16, 17, 20, 21 and 22, it is estimated that 130,000 people will attend the celebration.

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