Huge crowds are expected to flock to Cork to get the city’s festivities underway with the official switch on of the Christmas lights taking place on St Patrick’s St on Thursday, November 19.
GAA legend Jimmy Barry-Murphy is this year’s guest and will switch on the lights with the Lord Mayor of Cork, Chris O’Leary.
Mr Barry-Murphy, who won six All-Ireland medals as a player with Cork, said he is “truly honoured” to be kicking off the festivities.
“It gives me one more shot at representing Cork — albeit off the playing field for a change,” he said.
Celebrations will get underway at 6.30pm with festive musical performances by Cork-based Voice works and children’s choir ArtLifeCulture, with the man in red also making a special appearance.
Mr O’Leary said switching on the Christmas lights is a “highlight” in his year.
“Cork is a magical place at this time of year and for many the turning on of the Christmas lights is when the Christmas season begins in earnest,” he said.
Mr O’Leary said he was delighted Mr Barry-Murphy accepted the invitation to switch on the lights.
“He is a true Cork icon and we wanted to pay him a special tribute in his retirement for his many achievements over the years as a player, manager, and businessman,” said Mr O’Leary.
Following the switch-on of the lights the City Hall Crafts and Design Fair, which for many traditionally heralds the start of the Christmas season in Cork, will take place from November 26-29.
More than 60 stand holders will feature the best of contemporary crafts and artisan food producers from all over Ireland and in excess of €150,000 is expected to be spent per day.
Fair organiser Patrick O’Sullivan, said this year people can expect a lot of new content from first time exhibitors.
“There are lots to look out for including Tipperary’s Anne O’Leary who has returned from Canada with her high-end silks; award-winning stained glass producer Bianca Divito from Wexford; and Cork’s Diarmuid Neilan from Ekotree Knitwear,” said Mr O’Sullivan.
Admission is €5 and full details are available from www.cityhallcraftsfair.ie.