Sunday 22 September 2019

Never mind the rain - Christmas officially begins as lights go on

Rory Cowan from 'Mrs Brown's Boys poses with audience members at the annual Christmas tree lighting
Rory Cowan from 'Mrs Brown's Boys poses with audience members at the annual Christmas tree lighting

John Brennan

Cold and wet conditions failed to dampen the festive feeling gripping Dublin as the Christmas tree lights were switched on outside the GPO.

Hundreds gathered in the city centre as Dustin the Turkey, comic Al Porter, the Dublin Gospel Choir and boy band Hometown took the stage.

Hometown received the biggest response - from frenzied teenage girls singing along to Christmas songs.

Al Porter, who hosted the event, told the Irish Independent of his love of festive music.

"I'm just delighted everybody has finally given in and allowed us to sing Christmas songs in November," he said.

"It was great to be joined on stage by Dustin the Turkey, I join an elite group of people like Gay Byrne and Ryan Tubridy who've had the p*** taken out of them by Dustin while wearing a cheesy jumper."

He added: "There was great spirit, we roped in a bit of charity, we roped in a world record attempt. It was a great day and an honour to be asked to do it."

An attempt was made to break the world record for the largest gathering of Christmas jumpers, which was achieved last year in the city.

This year's attempt fell short by 200 jumpers - but it didn't dampen spirits.


Lisa and Sabrina Jones, sisters from Drumcondra, said "nothing beats it, it's the best time of the year".

Anita McCluskey from Whitehall said: "It's a tradition, we all go every year - we go see Santa, and then get some food."

Richard Guiney, CEO of business improvement group DublinTown - who helped to organise the event - explained that planning for Christmas in Dublin began "in March".

He also added: "I think what today showed us was that it takes more than a bit of cold and a bit of rain to keep the Dubs from having fun. I think there was a lot of people having fun today."


Among those who were enjoying the evening was Rory Cowan, star of 'Mrs Brown's Boys'.

Mr Cowan, who donned a fairy costume and placed the star at the top of the tree outside the GPO, said: "I had the best time. I mean, when am I ever going to be in a cherry‑picker in the middle of O'Connell Street doing that again? It was just fabulous."

Mr Cowan flew in from the UK for the event as he is currently touring the stage production of 'Mrs Brown's Boys'.

Irish Independent

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