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Wednesday 27 September 2023 Dublin: 15°C
# A time for giving
This Christmas market is asking locals to bring elderly neighbours along to enjoy the festive fun
Christmas can be a lonely time for elderly people living alone.

XmasSPM004JC StoryLab Strandhill Christmas Market StoryLab

THE ORGANISERS OF one Christmas market in an Irish town have come up with a heartwarming way to reach out to the elderly this Christmas.

The team behind the Strandhill Christmas Market in Sligo are encouraging locals to offer their elderly neighbours a lift to their year’s market to include them in the festive fun.

Those who bring their elderly neighbours along to enjoy the festive cheer will be treated, along with their guests, to a free cup of coffee or mulled wine at the market.

Strandhill People’s Market, now in its fourth year, opened its Christmas market on 1 December. Based in the surrounds of Sligo Airport’s Hangar, the market has become one of the biggest along the Wild Atlantic Way with over 50 stalls to choose from on each date.

Founder of the Strandhill Christmas Market Allan Mulrooney told why this initiative has been set up this year:

“With elderly people in the local areas, we have found they find the market a great asset to come have a coffee and a chat.

“However, we have found some of these elderly folk are finding it difficult to come to the market, so myself and some of my colleagues have been driving to their houses and bringing them down to it.”

After helping the elderly in the local community throughout the year, Mulrooney decided to launch this initiative at the Christmas market to encourage everyone to pitch in and help out.

“This time of year can be particularly difficult for the elderly, people who’ve lost their partners, or whose children have moved too far away to visit,” Mulrooney said.

“It’s easy to forget that the family-orientated holiday season can be the loneliest of times for people with no relatives.

“That’s why we will have a warming cup of something for those who would like to bring an elderly neighbour or friend along so they can soak up some of that nice vibe.”

Visitors to this year’s Christmas market will be able to buy gifts and indulge in bites to eat from the artisan food and craft producers.

Strandhill People’s Christmas market takes place every Friday between 5pm and 9pm, and every Sunday between 11am and 4pm up until Christmas Day.

Other Christmas markets around Ireland this winter include:

  • Winterval in Waterford
  • Belfast Continental Christmas Market
  • Aprés Village at Dublin’s CHQ
  • Galway Continental Christmas Market
  • Limerick’s Milk Market
  • Glow in Cork

For those who have concerns about their own wellbeing, or the wellbeing of an older person in their community, Alone can be contacted on 01 679 1032.

Read: ‘Christmas can be very hard if you’re on your own’: People asked to look out for the elderly this winter

More: Living alone in old age: ‘When my wife died, I discovered I didn’t have close friends. It’s lonely’

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