Christmas time officially starts as trees switch on
FESTIVE cheer was in the air in Dublin tonight as several iconic Christmas trees came to life.
Thousands of revellers gathered in the city centre for the O'Connell Street Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony, while many went southside to witness the Grafton Street Christmas tree being switched on.
Lord Mayor Oisín Quinn was on hand to turn O'Connell Street shades of blue, red and green.
Officials confirmed up to 6,000 people had turned out for the festivities, which included carol singing and a Christmas jumper competition.
“This is the first day of Christmas and everything looks fantastic,” explained the Mayor.
The festivities began early yesterday afternoon as an array of musical talent, including the Army Band, the Hallelujah Gospel Choir and the Monica Loughman Ballet took to a stage erected at the centre of the busy street.
Merry go rounds, magicians and carol singers were also on hand to entertain revellers throughout the day.
Santa's sleigh had pride of place at the celebration as the one-horse carriage escorted Father Christmas, his elves and the Lord Mayor from the Mansion House in time for the lighting ceremony at approximately 6pm.
The Sleigh was organised by Walk, an organisation founded in 1967 to support people with disabilities.
The Santa Sleigh initiative is the first of a series of projects designed by Walk to help to integrate people with intellectual disabilities into their surrounding communities.
Across on Grafton Street, TV3 presenter Elaine Crowley was on hand to officially flick the switch on the lights on the Christmas tree at the top of the city's busy shopping thoroughfare.
The lighting ceremony was in association with charity Focus Ireland, which launched its annual Sponsor A Star campaign.
The campaign is hoping to raise over €250,000 by asking businesses to sponsor a star on a Christmas tree dedicated to people who are homeless.