Mary Jane O’Connell (2) and Stanley Griffiths (11 months) play with Bob, the Border Collier at the live crib in Stephen’s Green while Minister Patrick O’Donovan, Katie Morrisroe (OPW) and Tim Cullinan (IFA President) look on.
For many Drogheda families a visit to Dublin at Christmas was always a treat for the children. The lights and the carols were always fantastic but the highlight for many was the live crib.
The crib was always a firm Christmas tradition and beloved institution for many, young and old, and although it was in doubt for a while this year, the good news is that it will be back on 8 December in a new, central location in the heart of the capital.
This year, the Summer House in St. Stephen’s Green Park will provide shelter to a donkey, two sheep, and a goat, gathered around a scene which captures the nativity story that unfolded in Bethlehem over two millennia ago.
Following discussions with the Irish Farmers’ Association, the Office of Public Works is pleased to announce that this new home has been found for the Live Crib at one of its most popular and easily accessible heritage sites in Dublin.
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The historic St. Stephen’s Green Park is an oasis in the hustle and bustle of the city, providing a calm setting for the farm animals and for families to bring their children to view the crib in the weeks leading up to Christmas.
Animal welfare is paramount and the shelter in the Summer House will be installed in line with the Farm Animal Welfare Advisory Council’s Guidelines.
The animals will be tended to onsite every day by their owner and will return to their farm in Wicklow each afternoon. Members of the public will not be able to enter the Summer House, but will be able to see the Live Crib from outside the rails.
Minister of State with responsibility for the Office of Public Works, Patrick O’Donovan, T.D., welcomed the announcement: “I am delighted that the OPW and IFA were able to find a location so that the Live Animal Crib can return to Dublin for the 27th year in a row to delight children in the weeks leading up to Christmas.
“I believe St Stephen’s Green offers an appropriate, sheltered space for the animals and is easily accessible for the public. As a parent, I understand how popular this nativity scene with real animals is for thousands of families in and outside the city, and I look forward to its opening on 8 December.”
IFA President Tim Cullinan said he was delighted that the Live Animal Crib would go ahead in Dublin city centre, as has happened every year since 1995. He thanked Minister Patrick O’Donovan and his officials in the OPW for their commitment to providing a location in St Stephen’s Green.
“The Live Animal Crib is a central part of the pre-Christmas experience in Dublin. It also allows children to see animals in a traditional Nativity scene. The Crib also serves to bring rural and urban communities together,” he said.