Monday 5 December 2016

Santa Claus saves the spirit of Christmas with sleigh ride from Clerys to the IFSC

Published 20/12/2015 | 02:30

SHHH: Santa Claus, formerly of the now-closed Clerys but now in the CHQ building, with Aoibh Brannick from Limerick. Photo: Gerry Mooney
SHHH: Santa Claus, formerly of the now-closed Clerys but now in the CHQ building, with Aoibh Brannick from Limerick. Photo: Gerry Mooney

For generations of children, a visit to see Santa in Clerys was an essential rite of passage, and a joyous memory never to be forgotten.

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The queues leading to Mr Claus's grotto often trailed through the iconic O'Connell Street department store and on to the street outside whether there was rain, hail or even snow. But while their parents braced themselves against the harsh winter elements, their sons and daughters seemed oblivious to it all, enthralled as they were by the shop's festive window displays.

This year, Clerys is, sadly, nothing more than a ghost of Christmases past. Thanks to the cold financial calculation of its new owners, Natrium - a company headed up by former Nama debtor Deirdre Foley and backed by Cheyne Capital Management, a London hedge fund where Nama's erstwhile No 2, Graham Emmett, is a partner, the historic retailer remains shuttered. Luckily however, the bean counters' remorseless obsession with Clerys bottom line hasn't stopped Santa from coming to town to see all the boys and girls.

Speaking to the Sunday Independent, Mr Claus appealed to any child who has yet to visit him to come along to the CHQ Building at Custom House Quay in Dublin's IFSC where, together with his elves, he has recreated the magic of his former Clerys grotto and workshop.

"I was very sad to see Clerys closing down. It was a very special place," he said. "But as upset as I was, I couldn't let the boys and girls of Dublin down. So I've moved my workshop in its entirety from Clerys to the CHQ building and I'll be there until this Wednesday to meet any child who has yet to let me know what they would like for Christmas."

Santa Claus will be at his 'I Believe' workshop at the CHQ each day until this Wednesday, December 23 from 10am to 7pm.

Admission is €15 for a child and €5 for an adult, and includes a commemorative photograph and the gift of a magical bell to help Santa fly his sleigh, which children should place under their tree at home on Christmas Eve.

Sunday Independent

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