‘Nollaig Shona Duit’ Christmas lights to return to Grafton St

Dublin Town urges early start to festive shopping as social distancing rules will limit access to stores

The ‘Nollaig Shona Duit’ Christmas lights are to return to Grafton St following controversy over their removal last year. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

The ‘Nollaig Shona Duit’ Christmas lights are to return to Grafton St following controversy over their removal last year. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

 

The “Nollaig Shona Duit” Christmas lights are to return to Grafton Street in Dublin following controversy over their removal last year.

Dublin Town, the business organisation responsible for installing the city’s Christmas lights, last year defended the replacement of the lights at the top of Grafton Street with a sign that read “Welcome to Grafton Quarter”.

The new branding proved unpopular with the public, hundreds of social media users and other city business groups, while Dublin City Council chief executive Owen Keegan said he would prefer the Irish-language sign to be reinstated.

Dublin Town, originally called Dublin City Business Improvement District, was set up 12 years ago to promote the city and supplement council services through additional cleaning, graffiti removal, floral planting, as well as the Christmas lights.

In a statement on Friday, it said the Nollaig Shona Duit sign, that had in recent years been located on nearby Wicklow Street “will be transferred to Grafton Street”.

A spokesman for Dublin Town noted there had been two Nollaig Shona Duit signs, but that the one originally on Grafton Street had simply come to the end of its working life after 15 years.

Memory

Following the reaction to the lights last year, it had been decided to relocate the remaining Nollaig Shona Duit signage this year to the more prominent location. He confirmed there are no plans to use the Grafton Quarter sign this year.

“Shopping and socialising in the city centre of Dublin under the iconic Christmas lights is a key Christmas memory for many,” it said. “2020 has been an extremely difficult year for Dublin city centre businesses.

“Dublin Town has shared that experience with its members and will be unable to provide new Christmas lights on some streets as it would have wished. However, it will erect lights on 26 city centre streets including on Grafton and Henry/Mary Streets and many more.”

Dublin Town, which represents 2,500 businesses in Dublin city centre, also urged the public to begin their Christmas shopping before the December rush as increased on-street and in-store space management will be required to meet physical distancing needs.

“Stores have been gearing up for Christmas and are now ready to meet customer requests,” it said. “Customers are asked to support Irish jobs by visiting city centres stores and buying from local retailers.

“Post-Covid, we all want to see a vibrant capital city and to make that a reality we need to make sure we support city businesses, and if purchasing online the public are encouraged to buy from sites that support Irish jobs.”