Christmas Light Ceremonies are a thing of the past! A historic event that you might tell your children or grand-children about if you are old enough. And if you have never experienced it, ask your parents or grand-parents. ;-)
Yes, yes once upon a time…..
…the Christmas Lights in Dublin got switched on at a big event (or three!). The lights in Grafton Street got switched on at an event near the Gaiety Theatre. The lights in O’Connell Street at an event around the big Christmas Tree near the GPO and then there was another ceremony at Smithfield Plaza (after they got the ugly white plastic light tree that was in O’Connell Street until someone in charge finally kicked it out of O’Connell Street and brought a real tree back.)
Thousands of people came to these lighting ceremonies and Dublin City decided that there were too many people and they cancelled the Lighting Ceremonies from 2018 onwards.
So NO ceremony this year either! Instead the lights were secretly switched on a few weeks ago and will stay on until 06 January!
And here is a bit of the history about the Christmas Lighting Ceremonies in recent time:
In 2016 there was a problem. The Grafton Street Lighting Ceremony attracted soo many people that the event had to be cancelled due to security concerns.
So it was decided to merge the Grafton Street, Henry Street and O’Connell Street events in 2017 and to run them as two parades that go from Grafton Street and from Mary Street to the Christmas Tree in O’Connell Street. The hope was that people would line the streets to watch the parade and would NOT assemble in one location. It didn’t work! There were still too many people in the O’Connell Street area and one of the two parades was stopped by the Gardai.
Back to the drawing board for 2018 it seemed, but then the 2018 event was completely cancelled.
It is not so clear what happened in 2016, because in 2014 there were only a few hundred or maybe a thousand people in O’Connell Street at a nice and unproblematic event. It possibly didn’t help that in the following years Pop Stars and sometimes SECRET headliners were announced to attract people! And when they came, Dublin City panicked!
When a choir, a brass band and a fake Santa performed the ceremony in 2014 and before, you didn’t see mad crowds.
The guest stars in Grafton Street in 2015 were
The High Kings, Zena Donnelly, Eoin Hynes, Halleluia Gospel Choir and the magician Jack Wise
If anybody remembers the performers in O’Connell Street for 2015 and in O’Connell Street and Grafton Street for 2016 when the madness started, please let me know.