After weeks of controversy, Dublin’s traditional live nativity scene is back – albeit in a new location.
Children dressed as angels and a gospel choir officially dedicated the nativity scene at St Stephen’s Green in what has been described as ‘a gift from the peasants of Ireland to the people of Dublin’.
Junior Minister Patrick O’Donovan, who is responsible for the Office of Public Works, and Irish Farmers’ Union (IFA) President Tim Callinan, joined children from the YMCA Nursery on Aungier Street and the Lucan Gospel Choir to celebrate the opening the crib to celebrate the summer house.
Dean of Christchurch Rev. Dermot Dunne and Father Gary Chamberland of Notre Dame-Newman Center also blessed the site, which features a goat, donkey and two sheep.
In keeping with a tradition that dates back to 1995, when the living nativity scene was first introduced as a Christmas attraction at Dublin City Council Mansion, farmer Fionn Sherlock, his grandfather John and great-uncle Joe Gallagher have had the animals for almost 30 years deliver – will bring them back to his farm in Co Wicklow every night.
Mr O’Donovan branded Dublin Lord Mayor Caroline Conroy’s decision not to hold a live nativity scene at the mansion this year as “bizarre”.
He invited families to come to the park to continue the tradition after intervening to install an alternative living nativity scene in partnership with the IFA. Ms Conroy has said she felt a live animal exhibition was inappropriate in a busy city centre.
Mr O’Donovan said: “We have been delighted to work with the IFA to find a new home for the crèche and ensure the continuation of this beautiful family tradition in our capital city.
“It provides an opportunity to celebrate and reflect on the nativity story over the next few weeks and I hope families will come and enjoy this and the other wonderful festive activities being organized in the city this winter.”
Mr Callinan, meanwhile, said animal welfare is paramount and the shelter “was installed in accordance with the guidelines of the Farm Animal Welfare Advisory Council”.
“We decided today to open the nativity scene as it symbolizes the connection between rural and urban communities,” Mr Callinan said yesterday.
“The live animal nativity scene is a gift from Irish farmers to the people of Dublin.
“It’s a wonderful part of the tradition in Dublin before Christmas.
“Worth walking a few minutes from the busy streets to the tranquility of St Stephen’s Green to see the Nativity Scene and the Nativity Scene.”
The nativity scene is open to the public daily from now until December 22 and can be viewed from outside tracks outside the venue.
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https://www.independent.ie/regionals/dublin/dublin-news/dublins-live-animal-crib-returns-in-new-location-at-st-stephens-green-42206727.html Dublin’s live animal nativity scene returns in a new location in St Stephen’s Green