THE countdown to Christmas got under way this evening as Limerick’s festive lights were officially turned on.
More than 5,000 people packed into Bedford Row and the surrounding streets as Father Christmas made an early visit to the city to flick the switch and light up Limerick’s winter wonderland.
The main man climbed from the roof of the neighbouring Bank of Ireland building to join a cheering crowd, and had this advice to Limerick’s children: “Be nice and be good to your mommies and daddies”.
Music came from the Limerick City Rhythm Band, The Voice finalist Niall O’Halloran and the purple-clad Shannon Gospel choir.
The spectacular ceremony included a tickertape parade, and - in the absence of real snow - a machine pumped out the white stuff.
There was dancing in the streets and a sea of smiling faces as the speakers blared out Slade’s ‘Merry Xmas Everybody’, Mariah Carey’s ‘All I want for Christmas is you’.
Garryowen man Martin Tobin said: “It was an absolutely brilliant turnout by all the people, and it was a triumph for the organisers. I am looking forward to Christmas now.”
Eight-year-old Lisa Hou also enjoyed the ceremony - and is hoping for Lego and an Ipad for Christmas now.
Emma Brewer, from the Old Cratloe Road, travelled to the turning-on with her son Calum, 8.
She enjoyed “everything” about the ceremony, adding: “I am looking forward to spending time with family and having time off work this Christmas”
Asked what he was looking forward to, Calum said simply: “Presents”, in particular an X Box One!
Despite poor weather earlier today, the rain stayed away for the early evening turn-on.