DublinTown, who confirmed that the iconic “Nollaig Shona Duit” light display will return to Grafton Street this year, is urging people to begin their holiday shopping early to accommodate for physical distancing and to give struggling business-owners much needed support.
DublinTown said in a statement on October 9: “Shopping and socialising in the city centre of Dublin under the iconic Christmas lights is a key Christmas memory for many. 2020 has been an extremely difficult year for Dublin city centre businesses.
“DublinTown 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.
“The Nollaig Shona Duit Christmas lights sign previously on Wicklow Street will be transferred to Grafton Street.”
Last year, DublinTown’s decision to move the “Nollaig Shona Duit” lights from Grafton Street to Wicklow Street and instead install a “Welcome to Grafton Quarter” light display on Grafton Street was met with great pushback.
DublinTown, which describes itself as the collective voice of businesses in Dublin city centre, additionally said it is “is urging the public to commence 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.
“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.
CEO of DublinTown Richard Guiney told RTE News at One on Friday: “People really do love Dublin at Christmas, it’s one of the things that we always get enormous feedback on.
“But obviously this year, with physical distancing, we want people to have a comfortable time as well. We’re encouraging people to come in, do their Christmas shopping that bit earlier, and take it at their leisure.”
Guiney said that footfall is down 60 percent and that 20 businesses on Grafton Street and Henry Street have closed since March.
He added: “We want a city post-pandemic, and the best way of having a city post-pandemic is for people to do their shopping this year particularly with city traders.
“So, we really are appealing to the public to – if they want a city post-pandemic, spending their money in the city is the best way to go about achieving that.”