Gary and Paul O’Donovan to switch on Cork Christmas lights

Olympic silver medallists will join Lord Mayor for ceremony on November 13th

Olympic heroes Gary and Paul O'Donovan have been recruited by Cork City Council to help get the festive celebrations off to a glittering start when they turn on the city's Christmas lights later this month.

The brothers from Skibbereen, who won silver in the lightweight double sculls in Rio, Brazil, will join with Lord Mayor of Cork Cllr Des Cahill in turning on the lights on Patrick's Street on November 13th.

Mr Cahill said the attendance of the O’Donovan brothers was sure to bring a big crowd on to the streets of Cork and he was very much looking forward to meeting the pair on the day.

“We are delighted to have the O’Donovan brothers lighting up the Christmas lights like they lit up the Olympics,” said Mr Cahill. The official switch-on of the lights takes place at 7.15pm.


The O’Donovan brothers, who captured the hearts of the nation with their irreverent interviews during and after the Olympics, said they were thrilled to be asked.


"Following what has been a rollercoaster few months, we are delighted to help kick off the Christmas season in Cork city," they said. " Hopefully, Santa can fit a few oars down the chimneys next month.Thank you for all your magnificent support. Happy Christmas to one and all."

The brothers were welcomed home by thousands to Skibbereen when they returned with their medals.

Mr Cahill said the switching-on of the lights was part of a big promotional drive by Cork City Council and the Cork Business Association to encourage people to shop locally in the lead-up to Christmas.

He said Glow: A Cork Christmas Celebration would open on the Grand Parade on November 25th and would run for four weekends in the run-up to Christmas.

Barry Roche

Barry Roche

Barry Roche is Southern Correspondent of The Irish Times