Garda estimates of just over 20,000 people, most of them families, turned out on Limerick’s O’Connell Street this evening [Sun 18 Nov 2018] for the turning on of the city’s Christmas Lights officially launching the festive season in Limerick.
Special guest of honour, Vicky Phelan and her family along with Anna, Elsa and Olaf from Frozen joined Mayor of the City and County of Limerick Cllr James Collins at the Light Up Limerick ceremony as well as special guests Santa Claus, the North Pole Elves.
The crowds were entertained from 4.30pm by street performers and special guests including Corpus Christi School Choir, members of the Limerick Panto Society, Limerick Gospel Choir and Myles Breen from the panto in UCH , in the build up to the main event – the turning on of the lights.
Those gathered were also treated to a fireworks display and a snow machine ensured the most traditional of traditional weathers, snow, enveloped the many children present who sang Christmas songs and enjoyed the turning on of the spectacular display of LED Christmas lights across the city centre.
Earlier in the day the Liveable Limerick team presented their Charity Christmas Dash, during which O’Connell Street taken over by Santa Clauses as they took part in a variety of races including the Mr & Mrs Claus’s three-legged race, a celebrity dash, wheelchair dash and sack race. All proceeds went to Novas and the Peter McVerry Trust.
Light Up Limerick is the starting point of six weeks of celebration that will also include: (seewww.limerick.ie/christmas for full details)
· Toots Christmas Train - Hop on board the award winning ‘Toots the Train’ and travel through the heart of the city and experience the festive sights and sounds and the Christmas lights! Every Fri, Sat & Sun from 30th Nov to 23rd Dec.
· King John’s Castle Magical Christmas- Why not visit Santa Claus and all his friends who have come to live within the magnificent castle walls for their weekends in December. 1st, 2nd, 8th, 9th, 15th, 16th, 20th – 23rdDec.
· The Gingerbread Factory and Santa’s Postbox at the Hunt Museum. You can make your own gingerbread while enjoying a hot chocolate before writing your all-important letter to Santa and posting it in the Big Green Post Box. Every Fri, Sat & Sun from 30th Nov to 23rd Dec.
· Christmas at the Milk Market and the Christmas Market on Cruises Street – Soak up the atmosphere with local artisan traders showcasing the wonderful handmade craft, art, horticultural produce and seasonal treats. Milk Market: 14th – 16th Dec and 21st– 24th Dec. Cruises Street: 16th – 24th Dec
Mayor of the City and County of Limerick Cllr James Collins said: “Light Up Limerick in the heart of the city centre this evening was a fantastic family friendly event full of the wonder and awe of what Christmas represents. I was delighted that Vicky and her family were my guests of honour. Her determination for justice has struck a chord with the people of Limerick and Ireland and this is a way we can show her our support.”
“Light Up Limerick is the start of a wonderful festive season across the city and county and I would encourage everyone to get out and about and enjoy the festivities locally.”
Special Guest of Honour was Vicky Phelan and her family. Vicky said was very excited to be at Light Up Limerick: “The biggest reason for me to be excited was that I didn’t think I’d be here, to be honest, at the start of the year. That’s what makes it all the more special for us this year. To be able to come in to Light Up Limerick in the good of my health and no pain, it’s great, because, last Christmas I wasn’t really well at all. I’m revelling in it all, to see all the crowds here, the support on Twitter, I can’t believe how many people are here all ready.”
“My son Darragh has been looking forward to it since he found out we would be turning on the Christmas lights, we bought Christmas jumpers and hats. The plan is to have a lovely Christmas at home with family and friends.”
Laura Ryan, Head of Marketing and Communications at Limerick City and County Council: “Light Up Limerick always creates a real sense of excitement and anticipation about the upcoming Christmas season. This year there is a packed calendar in Limerick full 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 inviting everyone to come and enjoy Christmas In Limerick.”
Limerick Culture and Arts Officer Sheila Deegan added: “Light up Limerick was a fantastic civic event to celebrate the start of the season of Christmas. We’re delighted that so many people came into the city centre to enjoy it with us. 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.”
As part of Christmas in Limerick hundreds ofadditional free car parking spaces will be provided with Park & Strides and Park & Rides available around the city. New sites this year include the Irish Rail Depot, Great National South Court Hotel in Raheen and University of Limerick.
Free Park & Stride (9am to 9pm)
· Cleeve’s Site, O’Callaghan Strand from 07 to 31 Dec 2018 inclusive
· Limerick City and County Council Car Park, via Nicholas Street on 08 & 09, 15 & 16 and 22 - 24 Dec 2018inclusive
· Irish Rail Depot, Roxboro Road on 08 & 09 and 15 – 24 Dec 2018 inclusive
Park & Ride (9am to 9pm)
· The Great National South Court Hotel, Raheen 08 & 09, 16, 22 & 23 Dec 2018 inclusive
· University of Limerick 08 & 09, 15 & 16, 22 & 23 Dec 2018 inclusive
Motorists using the Park & Rides will then board regular Bus Éireann scheduled services 304, 304A (from both locations) and 301 from Raheen. A real-time information app can be downloaded from the National Transport Authority, while use a Leap Card for the best bus fares.
As always parking in the city centre is available on-street and in multi-storey car parks. Download the Limerick e-parking app, or pay by phone or disc. On-street car parking is free after 5.30pm daily and is always free on Sundays.
In Abbeyfeale, Kilmallock and Newcastle West, motorists will get an extra two hours free parking in each of the towns from 2.30pm daily from 07 until 31 December inclusive. They already have their first hour free.
The Christmas in Limerick programme is being co-ordinated by Limerick City and County Council’s Culture & Arts Department and Marketing & Communications Department.
Christmas in Limerick is supported by:
· Gold Sponsors - Arthurs Quay Shopping Centre, King John’s Castle/ Shannon Heritage, Specsavers, SuperValu
· Silver Sponsors - Brown Thomas, Caherdavin and District Credit Union, Limerick Chamber
· Bronze Sponsors - Alex Findlater & Co, Centra, O'Connell St., The Hunt Cafe, Retail Excellence Ireland, Savins,Shannon Airport
· Media Partners are Limerick’s Live 95fm, Limerick Post, Limerick Leader, Spin SouthWest
All details about what’s on in Christmas in Limerick 2018 will be available in the Christmas In Limerick 2018 brochure from today [Sunday 18 Nov 2018] with 100,000 copies to be distributed across the mid-west.
Keep up to date with all things Christmas in Limerick via:
Twitter: @XmasLimerick #ChristmasInLimerick