I hope you're not one of those annual "it's only November" whiners or "Brown Thomas's window is not like it used to be" begrudgers. Well I think the Christmas build-up in Dublin is great and yesterday I availed of the full package.
Starting off outside Brown Thomas I saw the Christmas lights switched on. I will say that it seemed to be done without announcement or countdown - just "hey presto" and ooohh went around the gathered crowd. I will admit that I missed Brian Kennedy singing to the crowd, I was distracted by Nigella's capuccino pavlova recipe whilst leafing through Nigellissima in Hodges Figgis.
After a good wander around the Christmas section of Brown Thomas (some beautiful chocolates), admiring the Laduree macarons at €14 for 6 (feel free to send me some though) and availing of a lovely testing session in the Joe Malone section (have you tried the nutmeg and ginger body creme+perfume combi?) I sauntered round to Powerscourt. After a little wander around I arrived back at the Pyg counter where they were handing out mulled wine. A good crowd gathered and the queue for mulled wine lengthened. With an official countdown the lights were turned on and there was a good applause from the crowd.
Following this the crowd dispersed to the back entrance of Powerscourt on South William Street. There cracker-dressed characters mingled with the crowd handing out Christmas candy canes a booklet for the "Creative Quarter, Dublin" an area brand developed by DublinTown.ie which encompasses the area inside the square made by Wicklow to Exchequer Street, South Great George's Street, Stephen Street Lower to Chatham Row and back along Clarendon Street. With a chat about the great things going on in this area of Dublin by the DublinTown.ie owner and other business owners, we again launched into a countdown. Lost Society then provided mulled wine and mince pies for those who formed an orderly queue.
Surely that's got to be it you're saying to yourself, but no! There's more. The generosity and smart marketing of the Fitzwilliam Hotel posted an offer on Facebook on Tuesday of free 'Winter Warmers' for those coming in to see the lights to all who messaged them. True to their word I was given a requested 8pm slot of a +1. Heading in to the lovely establishment at 2 Stephen's Green, the bar was buzzing. Offered the option of two cocktails I chose one with a Chambord Black Raspberry Liqueur base. Beautifully presented adorned with a blackberry and a raspberry it was delicious. As my poor +1 was driving it seemed a shame to waste it so the barman kindly made me another. Two mulled wines and two cocktails later I headed home Christmas merry. Happy Christmas Dublin!