Dublin Winter Lights

Following the success of the inaugural Winter Lights at Merrion Square last year, Dublin City Council has once again opened up the gates of the Merrion Square Park for an affordable after-dark festive experience.

Beginning at 5pm every evening and running up to and including the evening of 22 December, tickets for this wonderland are just €2 per adult, which includes the admission of two children.

All monies raised from this year’s event will help fund a mobile sensory unit for future Dublin City Council events.

Lord Mayor of Dublin Caroline Conroy says: “Almost 40,000 people came last year… so I’m expecting even more people to turn up this time. If you didn’t get a chance to see the lights last year, you’re in for a treat.”

The historic park will be transformed into a “magical winter walk” through the use of lighting, projections, interactive elements and live characters. Christmas FM has come on board and will be broadcast through the park, so if you are thinking of visiting, be sure to send your request in early.

The Merrion Square Park event is part of a wider Dublin Winter Lights programme taking place at different locations across the city.

While Winter Lights at Merrion Square runs until 22 December, other events continue to take place until 1 January.

Keep an eye out for the Liffey viking boat and the Custom House and the Samuel Beckett Bridge decked out in their bright lights for the season.

Between 5pm and 5.30pm on Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings are reserved for relaxed viewing, to ensure a more relaxed environment for visitors.

There will be no music playing, more space to move around and a dedicated sensory room away from the lights and sounds.

To book your ticket or for further information on relaxed performances, please email entrymanagement2021@gmail.com.

Further information and a map of installations can be found at www.dublinwinterlights.ie.

Live crib in Claregalway, Sunday 18 December

Heading westwards, the Claregalway and District Day Care Centre is organising a live crib on 18 December.

Organised by Joe Cormican, a care assistant and bus driver at the centre, he is very much a community person and enjoys nothing more than seeing everyone around him having a good time.

A testament to the family generosity, this day care centre is built on land donated by Joe’s father Mattie Cormican.

Taking place from 4pm until 8pm in Cregboy, it will be all hands on deck for the community, with Joe advising “as people turn up, they can grab an outfit and tog out for their turn in the crib”.

There is a role for everyone: “My father-in-law takes care of the animals in the crib, keeping the children safe. Although he is a butcher by trade, so he is also eyeing them up with a different intention too!”

Sources agree the local donkeys may be plentiful, but are reluctant to take on some volunteer theatrics, so local equine vet Philip McManus is promising a donkey fit to watch over baby Jesus.

With a shortage of camels in the west of Ireland, a friendly alpaca has been sourced from Tom Gormally in Loughrea and neighbour Kieran Duggan agreeing to the loan of a pet sheep for the event.

Claregalway Community Choir will begin proceedings and the local scout group will be cooking fresh crêpes, with refreshments being served in the centre.

Students from local national schools, Claregalway and Carnmore, have prepared nativity artworks and winning pictures will be judged by day centre service users on the day.

Anticipation is high, as this is the first year back after a three-year break due to the pandemic. Organisers are looking forward to bringing back the live crib to Cregboy and keeping the true spirit of Christmas alive.

There is no charge for the event, but donations are gladly accepted.

Further information on this stellar community event can be found at www.claregalwaydaycarecentre.ie

Joe Cormican from the Claregalway & District Day Care Centre is one of the We Act campaign's Christmas Heroes.

We Act celebrates Ireland's charities and community groups and the people behind them. Full information at and www.weact.ie.

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