How does Dublin sell us Christmas?

Over €500,000 is spent lighting streets across the city every year...

How does Dublin sell us Christmas?

Freya Warton 4 years old from Greek Street Dublin sits on her mothers shoulders as the Christmas Lights are switched on Henry Street / Rolling News

When asked how business has been so far this year, Maurice Doyle, Banba Toymaster managing director says trade is, "Slightly up on last year - so we’re quiet happy with that. If the economy is coming out of recession - people have a bit more money to spend and they are not afraid to spend a little bit more."

This comes as a host of economic data points to a dip in consumer confidence - and a major jump in the number of Irish shoppers flocking to online British retailers to take advantage of the fall in sterling values since the Brexit vote.


"A lot of parents remember when they were kids coming in with their own parents. It brings that atmosphere - it lets the kids know that Christmas is coming and Santa is on the way."

The toy shop boss says that he believes that Dublin as a whole is busier so far this year.

Gerard Farrell is the Director of Operations for We are Dublin Town - the local business group who manage the erection of Christmas lights in the city centre - and echoes Toymaster's sentiments.

While Gerard concedes that there has been a lot of talk of "doom and gloom" ahead of the festive season as economic growth slows - he is "cautiously optimistic" that retailers and other businesses in the city are set for a strong Christmas season.

Dublin at Christmas has lit-up over 30 individual streets around the capital this year - at a cost of more than €500,000 (the group is funded by local businesses).

"Footfall is up and vacancy rates are down," he told Newstalk.

Christmas is a full time job for his team, its Dublin at Christmas website has become a go-to destination for people looking to find out about festive goings-on aronnd town.

This year was especially busy as new lights were designed for Henry St.

Early in 2016, design proposals were sought after consultations with local businesses and the group were busy with this project until they were finally lit on November 17th.

However, there are no plans to change the decorations on Grafton St any time soon according to Mr Farrell:

"That’s a classic design - it’s become iconic," he reflects, and he says local businesses want the lights to remain how they are.

It says its overall goal is create an atmosphere on the streets that will pull in punters as Christmas shopping becomes a "social event."

"You can't beat that warm feeling you get when you walk up the street. From the twinkling of the lights to the chanting of the street traders, it is the place to be at Christmas," Damien Byrne, head of creative at Arnotts told Newstalk.

Shops across the city have also been busy getting decked out for the season.

"The theme for this years Windows is 'Once upon a Crackers Christmas' and it tells the story of Crackers, the clumsy but lovable reindeer in training and his dream of one day flying Santa's sleigh. Santa explains that the magic of flight comes from the toys and off he sets on his quest," Damien continued.

He believes that this effort goes a long way with shoppers:

"Online shopping is such an important part of retail nowadays as it makes everything so accessible and easy to shop, but for me Christmas shopping is about the experience and the atmosphere.

"Creative extras enhance this and all we can hope for is that people will enjoy what we do, remember there experience and that we will somehow become part of their story of Christmas."