Garda estimates of just over 17,000 people, most of them families, turned out on Limerick’s O’Connell Street this Sunday evening (Sun 17 Nov 2019) for the traditional turning on of the city’s Christmas Lights, which officially launches the festive season in Limerick.
Special guest of honour, Rose of Tralee Dr Sinéad Flanagan joined Mayor of the City and County of Limerick Cllr Michael Sheahan at the Light Up Limerick ceremony, as well as special guests Santa Claus and the North Pole Elves.
The crowds were entertained from 4.30pm by street performers and special guests including Limerick Youth Choir and Zion Vocal Ensemble along with panto characters from Limerick Panto Society’s Beauty and the Beast at the Lime Tree Theatre, and The Specsavers Limerick Panto Aladdin at the University Concert Hall, 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 Christmas weathers 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 group hosted their Charity Xmas Dash, during which O’Connell Street was 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: (see www.limerick.ie/christmas for full details).
Christmas at the Urban Garden (outside Penneys) will be a hub of activity between now and the big day. Soak up the festive sights and city lights in the heart of Limerick’s shopping district. Santa’s snow topped cabin by Matthew Stephens Jewellers, Toots the Train, festive music and the Santa Sleigh selfie spot await you under the twinkling lights of Limerick’s 35ft Christmas tree!
Other highlights include:
- 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!
- Limerick on Ice at Arthur’s Quay is a firm family favourite, so you can get out and practice your skating. Experience the magic of ice skating at one of Limerick’s most celebrated Christmas attractions! Whether you’re a seasoned skater or a complete beginner, this is a great day out for all to enjoy.
- 8 Days of Christmas at Limerick Milk Market - Christmas cheer is in the air with a range of themed markets, handmade crafts and gifts, seasonal foods, local fashion and festive fun. Throughout December, there will be a special Santa letter service, and a visit from the man himself on Saturday 14 December!
- Big Names After Dark – Limerick is the place to be this Christmas with a host of big names performing. Ardal O’Hanlon, Wild Youth, Hudson Taylor, Walking on Cars, Delorentos, The 4 of Us, Nathan Carter, Phil Coulter and our own Blindboy are just some of the top name acts performing in Limerick over Christmas
- Festive Craft Fair – Local artisan traders will showcase wonderful handmade crafts, art and seasonal treats to get shoppers into the Christmas spirit on Limerick’s Cruises Street.
- New Year’s Eve Fireworks – Get your New Year’s Eve celebrations underway with a spectacular fireworks display over the River Shannon. This family friendly event will be a fitting finale to the Christmas festivities and will kickstart your New Year’s Eve celebrations at a family friendly time of 7pm.
- County Fare – Santa will be getting a fair idea of what the boys and girls across Limerick want for Christmas as he is popping up across Limerick in the run up to the Big Day! Special Santa’s Grottos are in Lough Gur, Stonehall Wildlife Park, D&M Garden Centre in Croagh. Kilmallock has a Christmas Market, while Rockbarton Garden Centre Bruff is hosting a Christmas Wreath Workshop.
- Sport – Family and friends will be able to gather at various sporting events over Christmas. The annual Christmas Racing Festival in Limerick Racecourse is the biggest of the year, while Munster v Leinster will no doubt be a sell-out, with greyhound racing also a popular night out.
Mayor of the City and County of Limerick Cllr Michael Sheahan said: “Light Up Limerick is the perfect start to what will be a wonderful festive season in the city and county. This evening’s event in the heart of the city centre was a fantastic family friendly event full of the wonder and awe of what Christmas represents.”
“I always remember making the annual trip to Limerick city for Christmas when I was young, and then the magic of Christmas and atmosphere in the city with my children and now my grandchildren. Limerick is a place for everyone at Christmas and I would encourage everyone near and far to experience it for themselves.”
Special Guest of Honour, Rose of Tralee Dr Sinéad Flanagan said: “It has been such an honour to be asked to be special guest this evening and help turn on the Christmas lights. I’m a proud Limerick woman so it’s a big honour for me. I’ve lots of memories of past Christmases in Limerick including coming to the city to see the amazing Christmas lights, shopping in the city and the atmosphere on Christmas Eve. There is nothing like spending Christmas at home with family.”
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 and everyone loves the event! Our aim is to showcase the packed calendar of events taking place across Limerick and particularly the unique city centre atmosphere that make Limerick special at Christmas time. I’d encourage everyone to keep an eye on our website at Limerick.ie/Christmas and follow us on our Christmas social media for gift ideas, competitions and festive updates.”
Limerick Culture and Arts Officer Sheila Deegan added: “The switching on of the Christmas lights is a moment of magic to mark the beginning of Christmas in Limerick bringing joy to families and friends alike on the streets of Limerick.”
“This event has grown over the years into one of Limerick City and County Council’s large scale family friendly days and we are delighted to be working in partnership with Liveable Limerick to enhance the offer further.”
To make Christmas in Limerick even more accessible, hundreds of additional free car parking spaces will be provided with Park & Strides and Park & Rides available around the city. Locations include the Council’s Car Park at Merchant’s Quay, Cleeve’s, 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 06 to 31 Dec inclusive
- Limerick City and County Council Car Park, via Nicholas Street on 07 & 08, 14 & 15 and 22 & 22 and 24 Dec inclusive
- Irish Rail Depot, Roxboro Road on 07 & 08 and 14 – 24 Dec inclusive
Park & Ride (9am to 9pm)
- The Great National South Court Hotel, Raheen 07 & 08, 14 & 15, 21 & 22 Dec inclusive
- University of Limerick 08 & 09, 15 & 16, 22 & 23 Dec inclusive
Motorists using the Park & Rides will then board regular Bus Éireann scheduled services 304 and 304A (from the Stables Complex at UL and opposite St Nessan’s Church in Raheen) and Dublin Coach services 307 and 308 from the Stables Complex at UL.
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, shoppers will get an extra two hours free parking in each of the towns from 2.30pm daily from 07 until 31 Dec inclusive. This is in addition to the first hour free.
The Christmas in Limerick programme is being co-ordinated by Limerick City and County Council’s Culture & Arts and Marketing & Communications Departments.
Christmas in Limerick is supported by Limerick Post, Limerick Chamber, Limerick Leader, Live 95 and Spin South West.
All details about what’s on over the Christmas period in Limerick will be available in the Christmas In Limerick 2019 event guide online and will be distributed throughout Limerick.
Keep up to date with all things Christmas in Limerick via: