Tuesday 19 March 2019 07:07:21 PM

Christmas Past Meets Christmas Present In Downpatrick
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CHRISTMAS magic is about to be sprinkled over Downpatrick as the town prepares to celebrate its annual Christkindl festival.

The theme for Christmas 2013, ‘Twas the night before Christmas’, is unashamedly nostalgic and perfectly suited to one of the region’s most historic locations.  Launching the packed festival programme this week, Down District Chairman Cllr Maria McCarthy said: “We’re delighted to be unwrapping a great selection of events and attractions which really captures the unique spirit of Christmas in Downpatrick.

“Just as the town blends old and new, so, too, does the Christkindl programme.  You’ll find lots of familiar favourites in here plus wonderful events to celebrate the Christmases of past times and some family fun that has a distinctly modern appeal.”



Featured locations range from the historic Down Arts Centre and the usually sombre Old Gaol which will be enjoying a seasonal makeover to host Santa’s Grotto, yuletide story-telling, music and food to the iconic and contemporary St Patrick’s Centre which will be transformed with a breathtaking display of twinkling lights.  St Patrick Square will be a centrepiece of the town’s celebrations, hosting the fun and jollity of the official Switch On ceremony and – of course – the location for its beautifully illuminated Christmas tree.

From 6.00-7.30pm on Friday 29 November St Patrick Square and Market Street will come alive with music, performance and characters illustrating the ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas’ theme, with hosts Kirstie McMurray and Gary Myles from Downtown Radio ramping up the excitement as crowds await the arrival of Santa and his reindeer, accompanied by a magical parade of local schoolchildren each carrying a softly glowing lantern.

Looking forward to the Switch On ceremony, Cllr McCarthy said: “This really is the official start of our Christmas season and I, for one, can hardly wait!  Christmas is, famously a time for little ones and the Children’s Lantern Parade will put them centre stage. Christmas is also a time for grown ups to ‘get in touch with their inner child’ so I’m sure I won’t be the only adult enjoying Santa’s arrival and hoping to have the opportunity to pat a real live reindeer!”

It’s not just Downpatrick which is getting into the spirit of Christmas.  The newly published Christkindl programme also features details of Switch On ceremonies and fun events at Ardglass, Castle Ward, Saintfield and Newcastle.

The Christkindl programme is available now from Down District Council outlets including Downpatrick Visitor Information Centre or alternatively download at:


It charts a vast range of events, from the excitement of the Official Switch On of Downpatrick’s seasonal illuminations right through to the Traditional Lessons and Carols and Midnight Communion which will bring the real spirit of Christmas to those gathered at Down Cathedral to welcome Christkindl 2013.

Keep ‘liking’ us on www.facebook.com/DownFestivals or follow us at www.twitter.com/@DownFestivals to keep up to speed with what’s going on this Christmas.