85,000 visitors on first weekend of Galway Christmas Market

Joe O'Shaughnessy

 Some 85,000 people visited the Galway Continental Christmas Market on its opening weekend, proving a boon to the city’s retailers who enjoyed a bumper early start to the high shopping season. 

 Visitors were up compared to last year when an estimated 70,000 people swarmed through the market. Reaction was hugely positive to some of the changes made to the fourth annual event, enthused organiser Maria Moynihan-Lee.

“People loved the way we’ve changed the layout again this year with the new avenue winding through, leading to the kids’ chairoplane on one end and the light garden on the other. We’ve got a great response,” she said.

Arts and science workshops on the main stage held by the Baboro children’s festival were a big hit with families while music by guitar duo Agogic Logic and Macey South in the Bavarian Windmill entertained the throngs in crisp but dry winter weather.

A team of children dressed as elves were on hand to help the Taoiseach Enda Kenny to officially launch the market by turning on the lights around 6pm on Friday alongside Mayor Padraig Conneely.

The park and ride service at €3 a car is expected to further lure shoppers and spending families when it opens this Saturday.

Sixty traders from here and abroad will be open for business until December 22. The market will be open Monday to Wednesday from midday to 8pm (bars open until 9pm) and from 10am to 10pm on Thursdays to Sundays.

Read more in today’s Connacht Sentinel