CITY people are being urged to get their skates on to enter a competition this Christmas as Limerick on Ice gets under way.
Arthur’s Quay park has once again been turned into the country’s largest ice rink for the next five weeks, as Limerick on Ice marks its tenth anniversary.
A new mascot has joined the celebrations - and members of the public are being invited to submit suggestions for his name, with a prize for the best one.
The ice rink will be open every day from 10am until 10pm from now until Sunday. January 5, excluding Christmas Day.
In that time, Fran O’Donnell of organisers Futureama Productions hopes to welcome its 250,000th customer.
“I think people will get a couple of surprises when they come along. It is very festive, it is very special, and it comes only once a year. It certainly adds to the whole festivities. It is one of the best ways to get into the Christmas spirit: just put your skates on and away you go,” he said.
As a result of the opening, some 80 seasonal jobs have been created at Arthur’s Quay in a variety of roles, including ice safety marshals, security, administration and marketing.
There is also a special ‘ice cafe’ to warm skaters feeling the chill up, before during and after the action.
“We have some very special groups deals and very special birthday deals going,” Mr O’Donnell confirmed.
Finance Minister Michael Noonan cut the ribbon at Limerick on Ice 2013 - but declined to get his skates on!
He said attractions like these are crucial to attracting short-stay tourists to the city over the festive period.
“Cities like Limerick are competing with other cities for short term tourists, midweek breaks, weekend breaks, and people come to cities for things to do. Having this in the run in to Christmas is a great attraction,” Mr Noonan told the Limerick Leader.
“The lead into Christmas is longer this time because the budget was moved back to October. So people are not waiting any longer for budget shocks - they are in a position now to plan their Christmas with a longer lead in,” he added.