THE countdown to the festive season in Limerick will get under way in earnest next week as Santa Claus switches on the city’s Christmas lights.
Limerick City and County Council has been busy installing an impressive array of festive lights in O’Connell Street in the last few weeks.
And businesses in the city are expecting a bumper spin-off from trading this year, according to Helen O’Donnell of the Limerick City Business Association.
She said: “The feeling on the ground is very optimistic. There are more shops open in the city than there has been over the last few years. People are really feeling that we are going to have a really good end of year. People are feeling confident and are tending to spend more. They are seeing a difference and we hope to have a really good Christmas from the point of view of spending per capita”.
Santa Claus is to perform the official switch on of the lights during a fun-filled afternoon on Sunday, November 15, as part of Light up Limerick, a special event being run by the council in association with Limerick Chamber.
As part of a number of activities set to be announced shortly, traders will go into competition with each other to see who can design the best Christmas window display.
This is part of a festival taking place later this month hosted by fashion queen Celia Holman Lee, entitled Celebrating Christmas in Limerick – the City of Fashion.
This will also see a mini fashion show from the Limerick Design and Craft Hub.
Elsewhere, Limerick on Ice will return to Arthur’s Quay Park from late November, while the city’s top tourist destination King John’s Castle will host a Medieval Christmas Experience.
Each Saturday in the run -up to the big day, there will be live music and comedy performances on the city streets, plus carol concerts, theatre, and festive food events, including the annual Christmas Milk Market.
Mayor of the City and County, Cllr Liam Galvin, said Limerick will become a “premier” shopping destination in the run-up to Christmas.
He said: “The impressive Christmas lighting display, decorated shop fronts and the exciting Christmas programme of events will combine to create a wonderful festive atmosphere and enhance the overall shopping experience throughout the city centre.”
The Fine Gael councillor hopes Limerick’s Christmas programme – which will continue to be updated through a dedicated page at www.limerick.ie – will encourage people from across Ireland to consider short breaks in Limerick.
Ms O’Donnell has called on all city traders to get behind the festivities, saying: “While the Christmas lights are paid for by the council, it is a very expensive piece of work in terms of the turning on of lights. We really need traders to support this.”
The switching on of Limerick’s Christmas lights begins from 4pm on Sunday, 15 November 15.
Santa Claus will flick the switch at 4.30pm, with snow falling over the Christmas tree in Bedford Row. Live95FM will also broadcast from the event.