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northside lights

The Stephen's Green market is no more ... but there's a Christmas plan for the Clerys shopfront

The Christmas plan for Dublin city has been confirmed. Here’s what’s going on…

REMEMBER THE STEPHEN’S Green Christmas Market last year?

The project came in for harsh criticism from some quarters: independent councillor Mannix Flynn called it “diabolical” for instance, and the head of the Restaurants Association of Ireland said the the over-reliance on fast food operators was harming business for café owners in the area.

Despite the criticism, research carried out by business group DublinTown found there was strong approval for the market, with a whopping 100% of visitors agreeing that it was good for the city.

“The criticisms got far more coverage than they actually deserved,” CEO of DublinTown Richard Guiney said this morning, as the group launched its Christmas programme for 2015 in the centre of O’Connell Street.

“There’s always scope for improving and learning from experience, so it would be one that, if it was to come back, you could look at the composition of some of the stalls.”

At any rate, because of Luas works the market won’t be back at Stephen’s Green this year.

The ‘I Believe’ Christmas Village at Custom House Quay will be the main festive market for the city this winter – but city centre retailers keen to have an attraction closer to the O’Connell Street area are also hoping to set up a smaller array of stalls outside the old Clerys shopfront.

“The people behind the ‘I Believe’ market are exploring the opportunities of having something at Clerys – because obviously Clerys is going to be closed this Christmas,” Guiney said.

“The logistics are actually quite good for that: you’d fit about 15 to 20 quality stalls there, which would be a satellite of the ‘I Believe’.”

21/11/2013. Clerys Shop Reopens The Clerys shopfront in 2013. Sam Boal Sam Boal

There are still a number of “logistical hurdles” to be overcome before the Council can give the green light to the project, but organisers say they’re optimistic it will go ahead on or around Sunday 29 November (the Custom House Quay market begins on 26 November).

Here’s what else will be happening in the city, as Christmas season gets under way in Dublin:

  • Thursday 12 November, 5.00pm: Lights on Henry Street to be switched on. ‘A mix of family entertainment’ promised before ceremony.
  • Sunday 15 November, 4.30pm: Grafton Street Christmas lights to be turned on by ‘a very special surprise guest’.
  • Thursday 19 November, 12pm: ’Shop and Drop’ service begins in two locations, on Liffey Street next to Arnotts and in St Stephen’s Green Shopping Centre (according to DublinTown: “shoppers can safely and securely leave their shopping haul with our staff in these locations while they go off and take full advantage of what the city has to offer”).
  • Thursday 26 November, 5.30pm – 8.00pm: Free open-air concert and Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony in Smithfield Plaza.
  • Thursday 26 November, 5.30pm: Lord Mayor Críona Ní Dhálaigh lights the ‘I Believe’ ‘Rockefeller style’ Christmas Tree at Custom House Quarter and officially opens the ‘I Believe’ Christmas market.
  • Sunday 29 November 2015, 3.30pm – 6.00pm: Switching on of O’Connell Street Christmas Tree lights by Lord Mayor. Annual world record Christmas jumper attempt to be held.
  • Tuesday 8 December 2015: Live Animal Crib opens at the Mansion House.

Read: An Post are trying to make Christmas shopping less painful this year

Read: Looking for a job this Christmas? These places are hiring


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