27 November 2015, 7am
By Bryan T. Smyth
Cork’s Christmas festival, Glow, A Cork Christmas Celebration, opens Friday November 27th at 4.30pm, and runs every Friday-Sunday until December 20th.
There’s so much to see and do in Cork City during Glow from meeting elves at Santa’s Workshop, to soaring high above Cork on a giant Ferris wheel, indulging in food markets and enjoying festive entertainment galore.
‘Santa’s Workshop’ at Bishop Lucey Park, located in the heart of the city on Grand Parade, is the main family attraction and is FREE for all to attend.
Children will truly experience the glow of Christmas as they wander on a magical journey through this lit up park, listening to Christmas songs and watching Santa’s helpers hard at work…and hard at play.
They will enjoy the interactive and live toys on display, such as the North Pole Express toy trains, a giant Jack-in-the-Box and giant candy canes. Girls and boys can also post their letters to Santa at a special North Pole post-box. Santa’s workshop is indeed a busy place. It’s chilly too, with ice and mist and snow – so visitors should make sure to wrap-up well.
Santa’s Workshop in Bishop Lucey Park, created by Spraoi, opens on Friday November 27th for four weekends, from 4.00pm to 8.00pm on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Please note, on the first evening, the park will not open until 4.30pm. The walk through takes approximately 20 minutes.
There’s plenty more to do as the Glow festival spills out onto Grand Parade, where Ireland’s largest Ferris Wheel, at 30 metres high, will provide stunning views of the city’s skyline. Here children will also have the chance to ride on the vintage carousel.
A festive seating area near the Ferris Wheel and food markets is the perfect vantage point to sample local and festive produce and listen to carol singers and musicians on a live music stage, performing for various charities.
A visit to Cork’s famous food market, The English Market, across the road is also a must. Here you can sip hot chocolate and pick up a range of gifts and Christmas nibbles like Tom Durcan’s famous spiced beef, O’Connell’s smoked salmon, artisan cheese and delicatessen items.
Also happening in Cork…
In addition to these food markets, a crafts market will take place at Emmet Place in Cork. The Goldiefish Festive Market will run during Christmas week, from Saturday 19th to Tuesday 22nd December, adding a wonderful atmosphere to this historic quarter of the City. There will be a great range of gifts from handmade jewellery, to wood carvings, soaps, woollens, leather goods, knitwear, angel gifts and other beautiful artisan crafts as well as confectionary, cakes and the best of Cork produce. There will also a number of singers and choirs performing over the four days.
For the weekend of the 4th, 5th and 6th of December, the Sugar Cube outside Electric on Grand Parade will be turned into a Santa’s Grotto with a twist. Instead of receiving a gift from Santa, children will be invited to bring a toy, food or basic toiletries so that Santa can pass the parcel on to a less fortunate child. As an extra treat, generous children – who will obviously go straight to the nice list – will have the chance to talk to the big man himself and tell him what they want for Christmas. They will also be given a hot chocolate and a little treat. This initiative is being run in conjunction with SVP. The event is free, and donations are welcome.
There’s a huge range of entertainment in the city in the run up to Christmas. Cork’s two Christmas pantomimes – Aladdin at the Everyman Theatre and Beauty and the Beast at the Cork Opera House – are always a family favourite.
Cork Youth Orchestra will perform Magical Christmas Matinees at 12pm and 2pm and a Christmas Proms performance at 8pm, all at City Hall on 12th December. The performances will feature The Snowman by Raymond Briggs, Tubby the Tuba with Les Neish, Michael McCarthy, Cork Arts Studio Youth Choir and will include live drawings by Sean O’Brien and ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas, narrated by Pakie O’Callaghan. Tickets for both the Matinees and Proms are available from Ticketmaster, Pro-Musica and J.J. O’Driscoll’s Supermarket, Ballinlough.
Voiceworks choir are also putting on The Voiceworks Christmas Special in aid of CUH Children’s Unit Live at St. Lukes Dec 20th.
Cór Cois Abhann Corcaigh is presenting Handel’s Messiah with The Jennens Orchestra on Saturday 19th December 2015 at 8pm in The Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul in Cork City. Tickets are available from Pro Musica in Cork, at SS. Peter and Paul’s Church Parish Office, Direct from the choir and a limited number of tickets will also be available online via Eventbrite.ie.
Cork is a fantastic compact city to get all your Christmas shopping done, as you can find high street shops, boutiques and quirky gift shops all within a short walk of each other. It also has the most individually owned shops in the country, which means you have a better chance of finding something unique.
While you are in the city, make sure you savour some of Cork’s fantastic restaurants and gastro pubs and check out the Lee Sessions, free trad music in pubs across Cork.
Cork City Centre was recently awarded the Purple Flag, a standard that recognises towns and cities which offer entertaining, diverse, safe and enjoyable nights out.
Commenting on this year’s festival, Director of Corporate and External Affairs at Cork City Council, Paul Moynihan said, “Cork City Council is delighted to present Glow again this year, a festival that captures the hearts of children and adults alike and more importantly attracts more than 170,000 people into the city centre. This is a much needed boost for businesses for Christmas trading. The knock on effect to city centre traders, restaurateurs and hoteliers is estimated to be in the region of €7.5 million”.
To cater for the extra footfall into Cork City during the Christmas period, additional parking spaces have been made available at a temporary Park and Ride at County Hall and North Main Street Car Park, Paul Street Car Park, and the Black Ash Park and Ride will be extending their opening times.
For more details on all to see and do in Cork and at Glow, A Cork Christmas Celebration, see www.GlowCork.ie, Facebook or Twitter @GlowCork
Dates for Santa’s Workshop in Bishop Lucey Park: 4pm-8pm
· Friday 27th November (opens at 4.30pm) to Sunday 29th November
· Friday 4th to Sunday 6th December
· Friday 11th to Sunday 13th December
· Friday 18th to Sunday 20nd December
Christmas Markets Opening: 10am to 8pm
· Friday 27th to Sunday 29th November
· Friday 4th to Sunday 6th December
· Friday 11th to Sunday 13th December
· Friday 18th to Sunday 20th December
Ferris Wheel and Carousel
· Friday 27th November to Sunday 10th January.
Additional parking services available in the run up to Christmas:
North Main Street car park
· Open on Sundays 29th November and 6th December from 09:00 to 18:30
· Open on Sundays 13th and 20th December from 07:30 to 18:30
· Open Monday 21st to Thursday 24th from 07:30 to 18:30
· Extended opening on Thursdays to Saturdays inclusive 21:00, commencing on Thursday 26th November until Saturday 19th December.
Paul Street car park
· Extended opening on Sundays 22nd and 29th November from 10:00 (normally 11:30)
· Extended opening on Sundays 6th, 13th, 20th December from 7:30
County Hall Temporary park and ride
· The service will operate for 4 weekends, commencing on Saturday 28th November and running each Saturday and Sunday until 20th December. First bus on Saturdays will depart at 9:30. First bus on Sundays will depart at 10:30. Last bus on both days will depart Sheares Street at 20:30.
Black Ash Park and ride
· Open on Sundays 29th November, 6th, 13th and 20th December. First bus departs Black Ash site at 11:00. Last bus departs from Lapps Quay at 20:30 hours.
· Extended opening on Fridays and Saturdays in support of the Glow festival on Fridays (27th November, 4th, 11th and 18th December) and Saturdays (28th November, 5th, 12th, and 19th December) – last bus to depart Lapps Quay at 20:30 (normally ends at 19:15).