THE COUNCIL has announced a massive line-up events for this year's festive celebrations, including a major fireworks display on New Year's Eve.
And this year's Christmas lights will be switched on this Sunday night, with special guest Dr Sinead Flanagan, Limerick's Rose of Tralee.
Getting thousands of people into the Christmas spirit this weekend will be the Limerick Youth Choir and Zion Vocal Ensemble, while Limerick Panto Society's Beauty and the Beast and the Specsavers Limerick Panto Aladdin cast will also be entertaining the masses.
Organised by Limerick City and County Council, the big event will kick off at 4.30pm.
Mayor of the City and County of Limerick Cllr Michael Sheahan said: “Christmas is such a wonderful time of year, and it is magical in Limerick, with the lights turned on, the atmosphere is truly memorable.
“Christmas is a time for families and friends to get together I’m hoping they will come out in force to celebrate Christmas in Limerick, beginning with Light Up Limerick. Christmas is a time to take stock and I’m urging everyone across Limerick city and county to come out in force, shop local and support our businesses.”
Laura Ryan, Head of Marketing and Communications with Limerick City and County Council said: “Our aim is to showcase the packed calendar of events 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.”
Dee Ryan, CEO of Limerick Chamber said: “Limerick is a special place at Christmas. Those of us from here, the wider region or, indeed, those who have happily come to live here over recent years, know just how special the atmosphere is in Limerick in the festive season. It’s a real spirit of partnership.”
“The local authority and retailers come together to create that atmosphere and the people then really add to it as Limerick people, as we all know, love to celebrate. It’s been a really good year on many fronts again for Limerick so we can look forward to a really special celebration this Christmas, in particular.”
Sheila Deegan, Culture & Arts Officer with Limerick City and County Council added: added: “Christmas in Limerick is one my favourite times of the year and the Christmas experience will be kick started on Sunday as family and friends gather together for the biggest turning on of the lights event in Limerick, Light Up Limerick.”
“We are delighted to be working to create a focus at the Urban Garden this year working with stakeholders to deliver lively cultural offerings in the city centre, complimented by a Christmas Fair on Cruises Street to get shoppers into the Christmas spirit.”
The Christmas in Limerick programme is being co-ordinated by Limerick City and County Council’s Culture & Arts and Marketing & Communications Departments.
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.
Earlier on Sunday, Liveable Limerick will run the Charity Xmas Dash, which will include fancy dress, three-legged race, wheelchair dash or sack races, from 2pm to 4pm. All proceeds raised go to Novas and the Peter McVerry Trust.
The fireworks display on New Year's Eve will take place at 7pm, with the best viewing points being Clancy’s Strand and Sarsfield Bridge.
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!
There will also be free parking in Limerick city over the festive period.
Christmas in Limerick 2019 will welcome back the award winning Toots Christmas Train for the festive season.
Toots the Train will travel around the city centre allowing families to experience the spectacular line up of festive events, traditional food and craft markets, exciting entertainment and the impressive display of Christmas lights.
Light Up Limerick kicks off more than a month of festivities and family friendly events across the city which 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.
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.