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DDDA unveils plans for bigger, better four-week festive market

DUBLIN Docklands Development Authority (DDDA) is set to extend its Christmas market -- as plans are already in motion to hold a market up to four weeks during the festive season.

The annual event in George's Dock in the IFSC, which was 12 days long last year, will become a month-long celebration if a suitable production team comes forward.

A spokesperson for the DDDA said it is getting ahead of the Christmas rush already because the market -- which was visited by 100,000 last year -- takes six months to plan fully.

"The Authority has put forward a tender for proposals to deliver a Christmas event in Docklands," she said.

However, she added: "The nature and length of the event that will take place will not be determined until the proposals have been received, reviewed and an operator is appointed."

The DDDA is looking for a team to design, organise and deliver the event "of up to a four week duration" in George's Dock and adjacent areas, according to the tender notice.

Along with the Maritime Festival in June, the Christmas market is the DDDA's biggest event of the year.

"It takes six months for the production, planning and implementation," explained the spokesperson.

"It was hugely popular last year, it was called the 12 days of Christmas but it was actually a 14 day event, so it's been going from strength to strength."

According to the DDDA, the Christmas market pays for itself every year since stallholders pay for a chance to set up in the IFSC.

"We want to make sure it's as hard hitting and as cutting edge as we can, so if people have other ideas (besides the market) we'd be willing to look at them. If they have this amazing thing which would work really well, then we'd be interested in it so we're leaving it wide open."

She added: "We would invite people who are interested and who want to put on that event, because it's a proven brand and people know about it."

Last year's yuletide event included over 70 market stalls with over 100 market traders selling festive products.

The event is modelled on famous continental markets which sell mulled wine, hot chocolate, continental pastries, minced pies and gourmet treats.

The spokesperson added that early planning is vital for the market -- even when summer is still in full swing.