Thank Cork it's Christmas: 6 ways to know it's Christmas in Cork – Irish Examiner

Thank Cork it’s Christmas: Lord Mayor Councillor Colm Kelleher switches on the Christmas lights in Cork

1. The Holly Bough goes on sale 

The start of the festivities is marked every year as the Holly Bough magazine hits news stands across the city. The publication has been a Cork Christmas tradition for over 120 years and features stories, songs, history, puzzles, festive food tips and the infamous Diffney quiz. This year’s cover features a red robin perched in front of South Gate Bridge with St Finbarr’s Cathedral in the background and is designed by local artist Keith Anderson.
2. Spiced beef in the English Market 

Turkey and ham are Christmas dinner in so many Irish homes, but in the Rebel county there’s a third meat that’s crucial to any festive feast: spiced beef. This Christmas delicacy can be picked up from a range of traders in the English Market or made at home up to two months in advance. Tom Durcan has raised the alarm about potential shortages of spiced beef this Christmas, citing availability of product, price rises and lack of staff as indicators that it might be hard for us to get our hands on the prize unless we order early, but luckily Eoin O’Mahony of O’Mahony’s Butchers has shared a simple recipe with us to make sure you don’t have to go without this Cork tradition this Christmas — just remember to start making it at least one week before December 25.
3. Christmas windows 

It just wouldn’t feel like Christmas without the various elaborate displays in iconic shops around our city streets. On Patrick Street, the Brown Thomas display attracts the attention of shoppers every year, while Casey’s Furniture on Oliver Plunkett Street is another local attraction. Just walking down Cork’s main thoroughfare gets us in the festive spirit! 

4. S.H.A.R.E crib in Daunt Square 
The blessing and turning on of the lights of the SHARE Crib is a key moment in the run-up to Christmas on the Leeside. The evening marks the commencement of boys and girls taking to the street with bright yellow jackets and charity buckets to raise money to help elderly people live independently. This year the Cork charity, which was founded by school students in 1970, is asking Corkonians to help combat loneliness and isolation amongst the elderly this year with the simple request to ‘Say Hello to Someone You Know’. Stay tuned for details of the construction of this year’s crib.

Meanwhile, the second annual Yellow Day in aid of Share will take place on November 26 when hundreds of students from schools across the city wear yellow jackets to raise awareness of the SHARE (Students Harness Aid for the Relief of the Elderly) organisation.
5. The Panto 

Oh yes, it is! The panto is a Christmas tradition among many rebel families and after a year without a live panto, we are more excited than ever to scream ‘he’s behind you!’ along with a packed-audience. Cork’s beloved Nanny Nellie will return to the Cork Opera House stage this Christmas for Nanny Nellie’s Adventures in Pantoland from December 10 to January 9. Cork’s Everyman Theatre’s classic Christmas Panto will also return to the stage this year with Aladdin set to bring a whole new world of adventure to the festive season. The Everyman’s panto, in association with CADA Performing Arts Academy, will open on December 8 and run until January 15.

6. The Christmas lights 

The switching on of Cork’s Christmas lights is when you really and truly know Christmas is here. While there couldn’t be a public event to mark the switching on of the lights this year (thanks Covid), Cork City Council have shared a video showcasing the illumination of Cork City Centre in all its sparkling Christmas glory and we have to say, we can’t help but feel the magic.

The Christmas Lights have been switched on in Cork and the city is glowing! #CorkGetsLit #ThankCorkItsChristmas

This year, some 50 Christmas Trees and 7.4km of lights are glistening across the Rebel city and GLOW, A Cork Christmas Celebration, has returned to Cork for four weekends:
* Friday, November 26 to Sunday, November 28;
* Friday, December 3 to Sunday, December 5;
* Friday, December 10 to Sunday, December 12
* and Friday, December 17 to Sunday, December 19.

The 30m Ferris Wheel is also back — but you must prebook. Visit for more information.

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