'It’s a big thing': Women's Christmas tradition remains strong in Cork 

In the Metropole Hotel, guests were welcomed to the Women’s Little Christmas Gala Banquet on Friday. 
'It’s a big thing': Women's Christmas tradition remains strong in Cork 

Marguerite O’Connor of Starlight Entertainment said that her ABBA tribute group, Super Troupers, were busy for Nollaig na mBan, playing both at the Metropole on Friday night, and in the Oliver Plunkett on Saturday.

With most of the Christmas celebrations are behind us, and decorations are being packed away for another year, one last fixture in the festive calendar was Nollaig na mBan, or Women’s Christmas.

While some might object to the old-fashioned idea of women finally getting their night out after slaving away in the kitchen over Christmas season, the tradition of Nollaig na mBan is still alive and well in Cork.

In the Metropole Hotel, guests at the Women’s Little Christmas Gala Banquet on Friday were treated to a prosecco welcome with live music, followed by a four course dinner, after which they can dance the night away to a live band and DJ.

Conference & Banqueting Sales Manager, Eoghan Hedderman, said Women’s Christmas is a tradition they keep up every year, and to the best of his knowledge all bookings for the night are female.

“It’s a big thing here in Cork, Women’s Little Christmas, and it’s great to be able to celebrate it, especially now that we’re able to celebrate it this year, when we weren’t allowed to celebrate it last year." 

Mr Hedderman said that a modern Nollaig na mBan is just about people coming out to enjoy themselves.

“There’s always a fantastic buzz… this is the last Christmas event we do, where people tend to come together and meet new people.. It’s another chance to celebrate with each other and you get that final Christmas feel,” he said.

Cork singer Fiona Kennedy who played the title track from her new album 'The Beach' to members of Network Cork from left, Ingrid Seim, Suzanne Dennehy, Fiona Murphy, Marguerite O'Sullivan, Anita Seigl, Yvonne O'Byrne and Colette O'Donovan after a swim in aid of Womens Aid, on Womens Little Christmas at Fountainstown beach in Co. Cork yesterday. Picture; Eddie O'Hare
Cork singer Fiona Kennedy who played the title track from her new album 'The Beach' to members of Network Cork from left, Ingrid Seim, Suzanne Dennehy, Fiona Murphy, Marguerite O'Sullivan, Anita Seigl, Yvonne O'Byrne and Colette O'Donovan after a swim in aid of Womens Aid, on Womens Little Christmas at Fountainstown beach in Co. Cork yesterday. Picture; Eddie O'Hare

Owner of period property Richmond House in Fermoy, Fiachra Ó’Cinnéide, was hosting a special Nollaig na mBan Wine Tasting Evening, presented by Julian Alubaidy from Bubble Brothers wine merchants.

Mr Ó’Cinnéide says his project, ‘The Richmond Revival’, hopes to make his period property home a hub for local arts and educational events and activities.

His aim for the special Women’s Christmas wine tasting was to bring something different to the traditional celebrations in Fermoy.

“I think really [Nollaig na mBan] is just a girls night out, and this is something different… that reaches a little bit into the cultural, something that’s not just going to the pub,” he added.

Marguerite O’Connor's ABBA tribute group, Super Troupers, were booked and busy for Nollaig na mBan, playing both at the Metropole on Friday night, and in the Oliver Plunkett on Saturday.

“It’s kind of waned obviously with lockdowns the last few years, but the Women’s Little Christmas is very much related to Cork, it’s real strong Cork tradition… The historical meaning was that women got to have a night off and the men brushed up and made the dinner and things like that, but nowadays it’s just trying to create fun events and have something different,” she said, adding that no man will be turned away from the ABBA fuelled fun.

“Whether you want to drink or not, it’s just to come out, have a show, be entertained, have a nice few hours break and really wind down and let the hair down after the Christmas rush." 

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